Rep. Katie Porter joined writers on the picket line at the Culver Studios in Los Angeles on Friday in solidarity with the ongoing WGA strike.
Before addressing the crowd, Porter led them in a chant heard frequently at picket lines across the city over the past two weeks: “What do we want? Fair contracts. When do we want them? Now.”
“You know when we wanted it? Yesterday,” she said, as she took the megaphone. “One of the things I love about this movement is that you guys are in it to stand up to corporate power and set an example for all of your brothers and sisters who are workers, who are unionized, and who are struggling to have labor rights.”
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Porter described the current movement as a “powerful, powerful strike” that has “put America on notice that we cannot continue to allow corporations to treat workers like they are disposable.”
“What is happening here is happening across the United States and across industries, which is big corporations trying to use industry transformation and technology as a weak sauce excuse to bust unions and hurt workers in order to boost their bottom line,” she said, adding: “And to that, I say ‘Bullsh*t.’”
First elected to Congress in 2018 and reelected in 2020 and 2022, representing portions of LA and Orange counties, the outspoken Porter has proven a star among progressive Democrats. In January, Porter announced that she was running in the crowded field to replace the retiring Diane Feinstein in the Senate.
Speaking with Deadline, Porter reiterated that the WGA strike could have ramifications that extend far beyond the entertainment industry.
“We are seeing across the country, industry after industry, not just in entertainment, that corporations are using innovation and technology as an excuse to bust unions, and it’s absolutely unacceptable,” she said. “So this strike is about the entertainment industry, but it’s also about so much more. These are workers here who are striking who are going to help make it easier for every worker down the line who’s gonna confront the changes that AI and other technologies are going to bring.”
She also had a message for the studio executives and the AMPTP, urging them that “it’s really important to understand: Where does the value come from that funds your salaries?”
“It comes from the workers who do the work, who are creative, who are tireless, who are professionals. And so you have to honor your workers and do right by them, or you’re not doing right by the business and the economy that you’re claiming to be at the top of,” she said.
While at the picket line, Porter also spoke with WGA West President David Goodman and negotiating committee co-chair Chris Keyser. She told them that she was particularly struck by the WGA’s concerns about the use of AI, and she felt that the AMPTP’s counteroffer for an annual meeting to discuss advancements in technology “was not a legitimate [response].”
“That’s part of the reason they want to starve you on wages, is because they’ll just go to AI,” she said.
Goodman told Deadline that Porter’s support is “very meaningful.”
“She’s always been such a strong champion of labor, and the fact that she’s here to support us obviously means the world to us, and we’re thrilled she’s here,” he continued.
Keyser added that Porter’s presence on the picket line “is a reflection not just of the existential crisis in the entertainment community for those who work [in it], but across the country for the pressures that are being put on labor by big corporations and a decision that somehow the value we create is not worth being paid for. It’s not the truth, and the Congresswoman knows that, and she’s standing with us. And everyone who’s standing with us understands that crisis in this country. We’re going to do something about it.”
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