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“Your Solidarity Ignited Workers Around The World,” Guild Boss Fran Drescher Tells SAG Awards After Strikes & “Hot Labor Summer”

Three months after SAG-AFTRA ended its long and bitter strike against the studios, guild president Fran Drescher took a glamourous and humorous victory lap in front of some of her most notable members Saturday at the SAG Awards.

Thanking IATSE, “Teamsters and basic crafts” at the top of her onstage remarks during the ceremony, Drescher also laid down a marker for what could be more labor unrest to come.

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“You took the heroes journey and stood at the front lines, strike captains led the march on the picket lines and we all showed up to the rallies because you understood what our massive contribution means to this marvelous industry,” Drescher told the nominees and guests at the Shrine Auditorium. “This was a seminal moment in our union’s history that has set the trajectory for many generations to come.”

In the first SAG Awards since the strikes that made Drescher a megastar in a town of stars, tonight’s remarks had all the expectations of an election-night speech, with Drescher striding onstage to huge applause with hands raised like a winning candidate. A tone and reality that has a certain irony being that Drescher was overwhelming reelected as president last September as a unity candidate in the middle of the strike.

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Giving a shout-out to her partner in negotiations as well as one of her greatest nemeses in the guild’s desire for streaming bonuses, AI protections and more, Drescher thanked both SAG-AFTRA Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and the SAG Awards’ new-ish home Netflix. Before the ceremony, Drescher on the red carpet called the show being seen around the globe on the streamer “a beautiful thing” after the tense talks last year that saw Sarandos and Netflix emerge as the primary players in Hollywood.

Drescher’s turn onstage wasn’t actually the first time she appeared on Saturday’s show. Right near the top of the fast-moving two-hour ceremony, she was seen in a close-up as Idris Elba congratulated the well-heeled crowd from the stage for the success of the strike.

Even before that, Crabtree-Ireland thanked everyone of the guild’s members and allies for their “commitment and courage” on the picket line and having the back of those at the bargaining table. The exec also made a point of thanking acting Labor Secretary Julie Su for being at tonight’s awards and her work.

Now, a speech by the guild president has long been a part of the show, but Drescher being Drescher, the Nanny star brought her own distinct style. Drescher once again took a swipe at the AMPTP media barbs and misogyny attacks against her during tense negotiations. “What does female leadership look like for women and girls?” Drescher asked to an adoring audience. “We don’t have to emulate male energy but rather lead with intellect, compassion, wisdom and still rock a red lip!”

With IASTE, Hollywood Teamsters and other crafts guilds entering their own talks with the studios in mere weeks, that heart sign that Drescher held up to SAG Awards tonight looks likely to find a new home on a new set of picket lines sooner rather than later.

Read all of Drescher’s speech at tonight’s SAG Awards here:

Thank you so much.

I want to gratefully acknowledge the WGA, DGA, IATSE, AFM, Teamsters and basic crafts for helping to make this night a success.

Thank you to the hardest working guy in show business, our SAG-AFTRA executive director Duncan Crabtree Ireland. And an especially big thanks to Netflix for inviting the SAG awards to their platform so this event can be viewed all over the world including my parent’s condo in South Florida!

Congratulations to all members both here today and everywhere.
 
I hold you all with the highest esteem and greatest respect, for you are the champions. You survived the longest strike in our union’s history with courage and conviction. The journey was arduous, came with great sacrifice and unrelenting stress. Your collective dignity and perseverance to stand up and say, “We deserve better because we are better,” resulted in an historic “Billion Dollar Deal.” Your solidarity ignited workers around the world, triggering what forever will be remembered as “The Hot Labor Summer.”
 
You took the heroes journey and stood at the front lines, strike captains led the march on the picket lines and we all showed up to the rallies because you understood what our massive contribution means to this marvelous industry.
 
And now, here we stand, tall and proud.
 
This was a seminal moment in our union’s history that has set the trajectory for many generations to come. Not afraid but brave, not weak but empowered, not peons but partners!
 
During the fight for a better TV / theatrical contract global ideas emerged: AI, will entrap us in a matrix where none of us know what’s real. If an inventor lacks empathy and spirituality, perhaps that’s not the invention we need. Dystopia stories can also become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
 
We should tell stories that spark the human spirit, connect us to the natural world and awaken our capacity to love unconditionally.
 
What does female leadership look like for women and girls? We don’t have to emulate male energy but rather lead with intellect, compassion, wisdom and still rock a red lip!
 
Sometimes it’s hard to see the frame when you’re in the picture, but a renaissance can happen.
 
If we each work to develop empathy within ourselves, collectively the paradigm will shift towards peace and harmony..
 
All of us, hold in our hearts the gentle whisper of true love. I am honored to be your President and as one, we now enter our golden age!

Thank you.

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