The cast of Grey's Anatomy gave up their lunch hour on Wednesday (7 November) to join their brothers on the picket line outside the studio in Hollywood where the drama series is filmed.
"This is like 12,000 writers and ultimately way more people because it affects all the actors, it involves all the crew and many of us who can't actually strike," said Sandra Oh, who plays sharp-tongued Dr. Cristina Yang on the popular drama. "This is our lunch hour right now, we're lending our support and eventually for me I would love to be able to join them and strike along with the writers."
The Writers' Guild of America represents a large population of screenwriters, some of whom make millions of dollar a year and others who barely make enough to pay union dues. The guild membership is at odds with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers over their share of supplemental payments, known as residuals, for programming runs on the internet and other forms of "new media."
Patrick Dempsey, who since joining the show has seen a stunning career boost, emphasized the writers' critical role in the production process. "This is our last show, it could be it for the season," he said. "It puts a lot of people out of work, which is a real shame here, you know, obviously you can't do it without the writers, it's very important that the writers get a piece of the pie and it's only fair."
Other "Grey's" cast members showing union solidarity were Katherine Heigl (Dr. Izzie Stevens), James Pickens Jr. (Dr. Richard Webber), Brooke Smith (Dr. Erica Hahn) and Sara Ramirez (Dr. Callie Torres).
The most recent WGA strike, in 1988, lasted 22 weeks and drained an estimated 500 million U.S. dollars from the industry.