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Below-the-line workers express their feelings

About 500 below-the-line workers staged a rally and march Sunday morning in Hollywood to plea for end to the writers strike.

The “Strike a Deal” event was organized to highlight the impact of the work stoppage on crews and those who work in areas related to film and television production.  The march began at Grauman’s Chinese Theater and concluded at Hollywood and Vine.

Event came two days after talks broke down between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.  WGA West president Patric Verrone issued a statement Sunday evening about the event.

“The Writers Guild is deeply concerned about the consequences for below-the-line workers impacted by the AMPTP’s decision to prolong the strike,” he said. “Despite the companies’ unwarranted action on Friday to break off talks and walk away from the table, we remain ready and willing to return to negotiations. It’s time for the networks and studios to join us in crafting a fair deal that will put this town back to work.”

IATSE President Thomas C. Short had issued a blistering denunciation of the WGA on Friday when the talks collapsed.

“I don’t believe the WGA ever intended to bargain in good faith,” said Short. “And they are destroying a lot of lives in the process. As a result of their irresponsible and irrational behavior, the number of IA members who have lost work is fast approaching 40,000 people representing members all over the U.S. and Canada.

The Strike a Deal organization describes itself on its Web site as “a spontaneous grass-roots outgrowth of the concern and desire of below-the-line industry professionals and vendors whose jobs, livelihoods and futures hang in the balance.”

“We urge the WGA and the AMPTP to come to terms NOW to avoid lengthy and devastating damage to our industry, our city and our lives,” the org said. “LET’S GET BACK TO WORK!”

— Dave McNary

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