Podcast: Trek Celebrities Invite Fans To Join Them On The Picket Line For ‘United We Trek’ On Star Trek Day

United We Trek: John Billingsley, Natalia, Castellanos, Jonathan Del Arco

With the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes ongoing and no clear signs of forward movement, a group of Star Trek actors are planning a special picketing event as “counterprogramming” to Star Trek Day. Details of the day are below, along with our complete interview with John Billingsley, Jonathan Del Arco, and Natalia Castellanos.

Trek celebs urge fans to join the picket lines in LA and New York

In a letter sent out to supporters and potential participants, actors John Billingsley (Dr. Phox, Enterprise), Jonathan Del Arco (Hugh, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Picard), Natalia Castellanos, and Michelle Hurd (Raffi, Star Trek: Picard) have asked that “the creatives behind Star Trek—the writers, the actors, the craftspeople and the crew members gather together outside the gates of Paramount” on Star Trek Day, September 8, “to remind the executives who claim to ‘own’ this franchise that Star Trek’s values are anti-exploitative, and rooted in a deep belief that EVERYBODY has a role to play in the protection of our shared ecosystem.”

From the letter:

On September 8th 2023 Paramount once again will celebrate “Star Trek Day,” a day intended to pay homage to Gene Roddenberrys vision of a future, a future where everyone is treated with respect and corporate greed is a thing of the past. 

Sadly, though, the studios and the AMPTP are failing to live up to Gene’s vision.

The group requests that anyone “who has ever worked on a Trek production, in any capacity, in front of or behind the camera, come out and picket.”

There are also welcoming fans who would like to join them in solidarity. Adding fans to the mix came up when Jonathan Del Arco and John Billingsley were on the picket line together and found themselves talking about how they’d helped organize the Star Trek picket that happened in May, when writers and actors from Star Trek: The Original SeriesThe Next GenerationDeep Space NineVoyagerEnterpriseDiscovery, PicardStrange New WorldsLower Decks, and Prodigy united to show their support of the WGA strike.

In an interview (now released as a supplemental All Access Star Trek podcast), Del Arco told TrekMovie what happened next:

John and I were on the picket line together. And we were like, We should do this for the actors, right? Yes. And then we’re like, we should invite the fans because no one’s ever thought of doing that before and the fans are this huge part of Star Trek. Fans are what created Star Trek, as far as I’m concerned, what saved Star Trek in the 1960s. So why not include the fans who have been so supportive on phone calls, on texts, on Instagram, saying “What can we do to support you?”

Billingsley told TrekMovie why it was so important to do this event on September 8:

We wanted to do it on [Star Trek] Day, which is something that Paramount has celebrated in past years. And it’s brought a large community of folks together, to essentially say, look at the wonderful values that we all support the ecosystem, it seems to us that what is happening right now is actually running counter to Star Trek values. And the ecosystem is really about we as actors and writers and designers and craftspeople coming together to say, this wonderful universe is something that you probably associate with us, not with the corporation.

“We’ve called it United We Trek,” says Castellanos. “That is what our picket day is. We’re all going to trek together at the Paramount gates united as one.”

Natalia Castellanos, Jeri Ryan, Michelle Hurd, Jonathan Del Arco, and Kathe Mazur on the picket line

Natalia Castellanos, Jeri Ryan, Michelle Hurd, Jonathan Del Arco, and Kathe Mazur on the picket line

Listen to the full interview with John Billingsley, Natalia Castellanos, and Jonathan Del Arco

Our full interview with John Billingsley, Jonathan Del Arco, and Natalia Castellanos delves into the big issues around the SAG-AFTRA strike and why taking action is so important.

 Where and when to join the picket lines

For those in Los Angeles:

United We Trek picket day in Los Angeles

And for New York:

East Coast United We Trek event

If you plan to join them, bring sunscreen, water, and comfortable shoes—you will be walking with picketers the entire time. (John Billingsley also recommends you “wear a nice hat.”)  They suggest you take public transportation or car services to get you there, as parking will be at a premium at both locations, and ask you to avoid wearing Star Trek-themed clothing.

When you arrive, check in with either SAG or the WGA station even if you’re not a member. Billingsley added,

Bring a homemade sign if you want to. You’ll have to have it approved by a SAG or WGA captain. We ask you not to use the name of the show or any individual character on any show. We’ll have SAG and WGA signs hopefully available for everybody, but they may be at a premium. And stay for as long as you want between 10 to 12. We’ll hopefully have a big group picture at the end-ish.

Fans who can’t be there can still help

If you can’t make it but still want to support the unions, the group respectfully encourages donations to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation to help striking worker and their families at https://sagaftra.foundation/. You can also spread the word on social media and elsewhere using the graphics above, and some fans are writing letters to Paramount and the AMPTP in hopes of making their disappointment clear.

TrekMovie will monitor events with the potential WGA strike as they happen and report on any updates.

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Damn, I think I might just head up to L.A. for this. Time for an old fan to give something back.

Kind of a weird time in World History to use those colors….

As I fan, I want both sides give in a bit and come to a good solution that works for all. Give me and event or venue that reflects developing a solution that both sides can live with, and I will show up. But I don’t think being an advocate for one side over the other is the right approach. The studios need to give in on AI protections to both the Writers and Actors and the Writers need to give in on arbitrary nonsense like forced sizes for writing staff no matter what the real needs are for a show.

And Rodenberry, who I spent a few days with back in the late 70’s, I seriously doubt would be taking either side in these strikes — so I think it’s improper for the promoters of this to assume that Rodenberry would take their side in this.

So I’ll pass on this.

“Both sides to give up a bit?” LOL — as of this writing, the studios have shown little interest in negotiating, which is the only way, so far as I know, to come to any kind of compromise that “benefits both sides” at all. Their tactics constitute nothing more than a classic attempt at union busting by locking workers out until they’re forced by economic necessity to capitulate, the primary difference being that you can’t replace creatives (without whom the studios would have literally zero product to sell) so easily as you can line workers, and that in 2023 calling in the Pinkertons would be rather déclassé.

As to Roddenberry, while he claimed to be pro-union his record on that score was decidedly mixed, the treatment of artist Wah Chang on TOS being particularly shameful (though much of the fault for that lay with the union’s own racism). As a producer, of course, he’d be on other side of this fight in any case. Still, he famously had little regard for studio executives, and loved to stir the soup, so who knows?

In any case, sorry you choose not to support the artists who are primarily responsible for bringing you the entertainment you so purport to enjoy. We’ll just have to muddle along without you, I suppose.

… buddy… reverse thrusters… you’ve approached a gravity well.


You’re coming off as misguided as the decks/necks guy.

Anyone who chooses to engage with the same exact post made on every one of these labor articles is making a big mistake. This is not someone posting in good faith.

Well said!

Well, thanks for making the inference of what sort of faith a total stranger is posting in, an entirely different thing to be sure than engaging with their arguments. (In truth, this is only the second time I’ve posted on this subject at all.) What colossal gall.

I’m talking about the person you replied to, not your actual post. The poster you replied to made up their mind about this labor dispute a long time ago and borderline spams every labor-related post with their one firm stance. My intention was to communicate to you, “Hey, don’t engage with this troll” in the gentlest possible way but I apologize for being unclear.

I think UppderDecks-NormalNecks parrots the same talking point in every strike-related thread and anyone who engages with them will get exactly nowhere because it’s not a conversation. Definitely don’t feed the troll.

Huh? Why the sudden and complete 180?

Nah, I am always and forever firmly against reading anything you have to say about labor issues. lol — I was just trying to tell someone to not engage with you because you’re not interested in the closed circuit of your mind.


Yep, LOL

Dude, no one can understand your confusing posts here. Lol

It’s pretty straightforward. You’re just a moron.

Thanks, groupie.

Okay, and sorry for the misunderstanding (we can just put it down to Trekmovie’s posting system, which I think we’re all agreed is pretty awful). :-)

People are entitled to have an open mind about this. I don’t always agree with that poster, but I appreciate that he has an open mind on this.

I’m jumping on somebody who is wrongheadedly jumping on a ‘good’ poster. I don’t like the idea of being a good german, sorry ’bout that TM.

Sorry, I thought I was replying to the other guy not you. Gonna have to pay more attention to poster names.

In any case, sorry you choose not to support the artists who are primarily responsible for bringing you the entertainment you so purport to enjoy

Again, somebody not bothering to read exactly what I said:

The studios need to give in on AI protections to both the Writers and Actors and the Writers need to give in on arbitrary nonsense like forced sizes for writing staff no matter what the real needs are for a show.

Sigh! Dude, this is what’s called looking for solutions, not just blindly taking one side and to hell with anyone who doesn’t 100% take the workers side.

I too like being left almost exactly where I was before because I’m still being left unable to actually get to write episodes and get paid for them.

:-) Yeah!

In fact, I read and comprehended exactly what you said very well, thanks. If you re-read my post, otoh, you might just discern that I made no specific judgements on the details of the dispute at all, only noting that since the studios weren’t negotiating they apparently aren’t interested in reaching a just and equitable settlement, but only in locking the writers out until economic necessity forces them to capitulate. Given the known facts and unprecedented length of the strike, that seems pretty indisputable.

Fair enough – Thanks for pointing that out, and I agree with this.

No worries, and my sincere thanks for reconsidering what I actually wrote.

Is there any good article, preferably from the Hollywood trade press, that gives a reasonably neutral view of the demands of both sides and negotiating points?

We can’t have that — that would ruin the one-sided narrative. ;-)

Well, for what it’s worth, the Washington Post had an interesting article yesterday on the controversy over the size of writers’ rooms.

See Erica Werner, How many people does it take to write a TV show? Issue is central in strike., Washington Post, September 4, 2023. I’ll post the hyperlink below since posts with hyperlinks seemingly disappear in a black hole of moderation.

As a fan, I expect both sides to bargin in good faith, and arrive at a compromise that all parties can live with.
That said, I’ve not turned off my critical thinking skills here. Analysts have commented that management doesn’t seem to have any cohesive approach to bargining, outside of commenting publically that they are okay trying to break both guilds. WGA and SAG have both been pretty transparent where the problems lie. If the courts continue to hold that AI generated content isn’t subject to copyright, there’s little left for management to stand on, outside of being vindictive.
You’ve been leaning pretty heavily that the artists are in the wrong here on previous posts; as this drags on there’s less and less evidence to support this. I doubt anyone on the picket lines will notice your absence.

I agree 100% with your first paragraph.

As for your second paragraph, nope, I’ve had this approach all along — you just got all unnecessarily torqued up when I criticized the initial lack of a coherant marketing campaign when the optics of the strikers were looking more like Ferris Buellers Day off than Norma Rae. They are doing a better job these days, and now the studios can’t get their act together, so they are behaving erratically.

They’ve actually done a pretty good job at it from the beginning. Management is in a tailspin, the Guilds are united, and the public firmly backs them. An industry column in todays LA Times pretty much calls management out on its nonsense, and suggests they need to call it a day and settle, so everyone can get back to work.

I agree with your comments on management here.

What the actors and writers are asking for is a pittance. It makes me sick that any of it needs to be negotiated. Not only that, what they are fighting for is part of what every professional will be fighting for very soon. A precedent must be sent.

It’s like you didn’t even bother to read what I said about how they can come to an agreement?

The studios need to give in on AI protections to both the Writers and Actors and the Writers need to give in on arbitrary nonsense like forced sizes for writing staff no matter what the real needs are for a show.

We read what you wrote; we just happen to think that you’re wrong Wrong WRONG and incredibly (or deliberatelly) naive as to the way TPTB always work to exploit the creatives. Realize it or not, your POV is a big part of the problem, because in essence you’re buying into yet another Big Lie.

Receipts? How is right-sizing the writers’ room to the needs of the project / creator vs forcing a minimum number of writers who might just end up creating a camel: “exploiting”?

Honestly trying to engage because I agree w/ just about everything the unions are asking for except that one.

100% Agreed !!!

we just happen to think that you’re wrong Wrong WRONG

So you are a director/writer, and you write your 8-ep streaming series, with another writers reviewing it, adding some stuff in with you as you shoot the 8 eps. Oh, but wait, the new SAG agreement says you must hire a Writers Room of 8 people, and pay them all full-time wages and benefits for at least 90 days, so you hire 6 other writers to just sit in a room for 90 days for no good reason?

You all for that? That’s just wrong, bad for the art form, inefficient, and what writer with any professional pride wants a fake, make-work job like that anyway?

But by all means, you and others go ahead and willy-nilly support every single item that SAG has on your table because the writers are 100% good and the studios have ZERO valid concerns, because this is America, where group-think, fake news, emotion without thought and spin zones rule the day.

Why don’t you ask JMS? He’s the only person I can think of who writes all of his own show, and that was decades back. And it probably about killed him to do it. Serling wrote about five dozen TZs and it certainly impacted hell out of his health.

There’s definitely a downside to writer’s rooms, because it limits freelance input, and that is one reason I find staff-written shows to sometimes be ‘lesser.’ But if it come down to a writers room of six versus a writer’s room of two with one freelancer added, the writers are still losing out and having to do more, which invariably results in lesser product, even in the best of hands.

If you know ANYTHING about group-think and fake news then you had better reassess what it is you’re writing about and whether you should even be putting such stuff out there. Cuz you’re playing right into the money’s hands.

I think you have it backwards, but I am fine with us having differing opinions on this. Just please note that in no way did I say I’m taking management’s side on this strike — I am simply pointing out real issues rather than just assuming I need to support one side 100% and the other side 0% — because the pushback I received here from you and others on bringing up valid positions shows to me a lack of creative thinking, and is just cheap “advocacy speak.”

I have actually proposed a logical framework for negotiations where I proposed the writers and actors get rock solid AI protection, but then they have a give a little back on the economic side, especially in regards to artificial writing room sizes the must be imposed on all streaming shows.

Why don’t you ask JMS? He’s the only person I can think of who writes all of his own show, and that was decades back.

If exogenous structural factors (overwork, etc.) are pushing the industry towards using writers’ rooms as opposed to other models, such as spec scrips, then why does WGA feel so passionately about demanding them as part of a collective bargaining agreement?

The same outcome would obtain regardless of whether they’re contractually mandated.

Hang on. How does requiring a certain minimum number of writers on staff solve the problem of “exploiting the creatives”?

I’m coming at this question from the perspective of a non-Hollywood outsider, and I generally don’t feel informed enough to comment on the merits of the strike, but UpperDecks’ comment doesn’t strike me as a priori “wrong Wrong WRONG.”

And in other contexts, I’ve rarely seen a negotiation where one side is 100% in the right and the other 100% in the wrong.

That’s it, in a nutshell. This is a far bigger issue than if any of us will get any more live action Trek in the near or remote future. The pendulum can swing too far in either direction, but it’s increasingly gone to capital at labor’s expense in the United States longer than most of the posters here have been alive, and whatever the benefits in terms of efficiency and innovation the costs in terms of human suffering and social cohesion are becoming too high to bear.

Is a revival of the traditional labor movement the answer? Beats me, but it seems like a good place to start. Unions are like any flawed human institution, subject to mission creep at best and corruption (and how!) at worst. But any honest look at the history leaves me no doubt that we’re far better off with them than without them.

My grandfather despised unions strictly on the basis of their utter corruption but also because of the institutionalized protection they provided for ‘deadbeat sonsabitches’ as he liked to call them. But I also know that he was making well over twenty bucks an hour in the 1960s because of them. That was better than most pro ballplayers. And because he was apparently one of the greatest steam shovel operators in the country, though I don’t think they actually had contests to celebrate this back then … today I’m surprised it isn’t a reality show.

But the corruption arc is there for pretty much every institution. They all start out pure like what is depicted in MATEWAN, which breaks my heart just to think about (and I have the Criterion now, gloat gloat!), and in the case of the film industry, you’re talking about all sorts of creatives getting exploited (VFX being a prime example this century.)

Agreed. I got crucified here for pointing out the hypocrisy of union leader Fran Drescher (net worth of $30M+) doing paid promotional photo shoots in Italy with a Kardashian on the eve of the actors strike. Sure, that wasn’t technically an acting role, but it just showed the optics of a double-standard that that fat-cat union boss has for herself.

there was another side to that story but agree, the optics weren’t great

I knew a couple of people who worked at Framestore LLC just as its digital artists won the Oscar for their work on LIFE OF PI and the company simultaneously went bankrupt.

It’s good to see that finally a major VFX group ( the VFX workers who do most of the work on Disney productions is going to unionize.

kmart and I were discussing this here about a month ago — and they need to figure out a way to make this work internationally or it’s going to be difficult to deal with the offshoring issue.

This is great, but why is it that whenever Trek actors do something like this, the design is so terrible??? I own a creative agency and we will gladly rebrand this event for free if anyone knows anyone involved.

It does look like Windows 3.1 graphics…lol

John Billingsley, Jonathan Del Arco, and Natalia Castellanos, that’s BRILLIANT!

Thanks Trekmovie.com for spreading the word to us fans. I would like to share some comments heard first-hand from two current Trek actors, but I do not want to get them in any hot water with the studios. If you wish, let me know via email if I can send you the comments and you can let me know if it would be ok to post. Suffice it to say, the comments were very educational for this fan, and very Trek specific on why the writers and actors are on strike.

not sure invoking Gene is the best idea. While he certainly had his problems with management he was also often on the take. At best he’d be playing both sides of this conflict I think

Bootlicking “middle-grounders” aside, I *do* wonder what a negotiation in good faith on the part of the studios would look like.

Well, I’m no labor expert, but it might involve, you know, actually *negotiating* until a settlement is reached. That would be a good start.

Heh. Indeed.

That’s my groupie — he keeps calling me a “bootlicker” in multiple posts…lol

It’s like they’re Ferengi without the ‘joy of the deal’ aspect, they just do this on automatic out of entitlement or something like that. To me it is very similar to chronic criminal behavior, because once you get away with something without consequence (or with delayed, minimized consequence), you feel entitled to hold that ground and attitude to exploit all the more. Then again, the whole notion of a ‘rolling break’ seems like just another form of white collar crime to me.

Dude, I like conversing with you, but you just highlighted how silly and immature the “100% advocacy viewpoint” is on this. There are tons of good people at the studios, including many of the executives, who try to due right by the creative side, and work with them to give opportunities and support to movies and TV. Painting them all with this broad brush as criminals is ridiculous and illustrates to me the level of unintelligence from so many in the media and public.

It’s just so lazy to have this “100% right good guy versus 0% right bad guy” attitude and not try to look at both sides positions and try to find a way forward.