Hollywood came to Wisconsin: Bradley Whitford of the West Wing, Robert Newman, & Gabrielle Carteris Speak Up for Unions

Please read and comment here but also visit the source & watch a great 3 minute video from the February 26 Snow Rally as well as a series of related videos from Gannett.

MADISON – Actor Bradley Whitford wasn’t in Madison to meet the governor Saturday.

Bradley Whitford of West Wing

The Madison native, who has starred in numerous films and television roles, including his best-known role as Josh Lyman on “The West Wing,” has met many politicians before. But Saturday he was in town to speak to the people, the tens of thousands people who protesting for workers rights at the Capitol.

But Whitford still had a message for Gov. Scott Walker, who recently introduced a plan to strip most Wisconsin public unions of collective bargaining powers.

“With all due respect, you have made a humongous miscalculation and this won’t stand,” he said. “Look out the window. These people are not going to go away. This is a constituency that knows patience.

“They fish through ice.”

Whitford was one of three actors who are union members who back labor movements. They came to town to help rally the thousands of people at the Capitol. He was joined by Robert Newman, a longtime star on the “Guiding Light,” and Gabrielle Carteris, who starred on “Beverly Hills 90210.” Rally organizers brought the actors in to participate in the massive rally that overtook downtown Madison.

Gabrielle Carteris

“I think the people here don’t understand how powerfully this is resonating across the country,” said Whitford, who now lives in Los Angeles. “Not only in the states where there may be similar measures imminently, I mean it’s all over. In a country where the middle class is disappearing, where the discrepancy between what the rich are making and what the poor are making is spreading, unions are the greatest engine for creating the great American middle Ccass.

“When you so artlessly and shamelessly attack unions, you are going to tick people off.”

The actors talked about the importance of unions in all professions, including theirs.

Newman said people have an idea actors earn $6 million salaries, but most people in the industry earn far less. He said few actors make more than $5,000 or $6,000 a year.

“Because we are sort of like independent contractors where we move from job to job to job we need some uniform protection for all the employers we work with that will give us some kind of structure for hours and breaks and turnaround time,” he said.

Newman explained why actors who live in Los Angeles and New York would travel to Wisconsin to support teachers from De Pere or custodians from Wisconsin Rapids.

“There’s a symbiotic connection between all unions I think,” he said. “If something is happening in one portion of the union world then there’s the potential for it to happen in other portions.

“This is about basic freedom that’s being taken way from the working class.”

Carteris said about five years ago she was injured on an acting job.

“It was my union that took care of me,” she said. “When I work and I don’t get paid by my employers, it’s my union that takes care of me. For me, it’s a key place to be. Wisconsin is truly the heart of unionism and I’m here to show my support and solidarity.”

She said what Walking is doing to public workers is “frightening.”

“What would I say to Walker?” she said. “I would say shame on you. You clearly have lost touch with the people in this country and this state and I think it’s time for you to reevaluate what your position is supposed to be.

“Because as quickly as you were brought up you will be brought down. You will not break the unions.”

This text is from the Post-Crescent.

Robert Newman of Guiding Light

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