As the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes continue in Los Angeles, film and television workers are finding support from fellow workers, from hotel employees to the Teamsters.

By Mel Buer, The Real News Network

Los Angeles has been a hotbed of labor activity this year. 30,000 school staff workers, represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 99, struck for three days in the spring, leading to a landmark deal with the LA Unified School District that included 30% wage increases and better benefits for support staff. After going on strike last year and dealing with protracted legal battles, strippers at the Star Garden Topless Dive Bar in North Hollywood made history this May by unanimously voting to unionize with the Actors Equity association. Down in Orange County, Medieval Times performers have been on an indefinite unfair labor practice (ULP) strike and holding strong since February, facing violence on the picket line and a vindictive employer that, according to workers, is not bargaining in good faith with the union and has continued operations during the strike, flying in scab performers from around the country. Thousands of hotel workers with UNITE HERE Local 11 have been striking at multiple hotel chains across the city (and more are joining) in an effort to secure a fair deal. Fast food workers have set up pickets across LA as they fight for safer working conditions, and UPS workers could be found walking practice picket lines at multiple sites across Southern California in July, joining their Teamsters siblings across the country who were mobilized to strike on Aug. 1 (a strike that was averted after a tentative agreement was reached between UPS and the Teamsters bargaining committee, which members ratified in late August).

sag aftra strikers

“Without us, none of this fucking happens. Bob Iger’s yacht doesn’t fucking exist.”


The most high-profile strikes have been organized by the Writers Guild of America (WGA), on strike since May 2, and the Screen Actors Guild side of SAG-AFTRA, on strike since July 13, who have joined each other on the picket line for the first time in 60 years. As these and other strikes and rallies continue to bring thousands of workers together on the streets of Los Angeles, more and more of those workers have coalesced around shared struggles, offering solidarity and support on and beyond each other’s picket lines, and joining the chorus of renewed calls for solidarity across the Southern California labor movement. And when it comes to solidarity, LA entertainment workers are really putting their money where their mouth is: multiple fundraisers and charity events have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the various hardship funds that are supporting entertainment industry workers who aren’t striking actors or writers but are still directly affected by the strikes, and WGA and SAG-AFTRA picket signs can be seen at labor actions for other unions across the city.

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