It’s not just Hollywood. Multiple unions set to stage labor actions.
Striking Hollywood actors and screenwriters are seeing support from other labor unions, such as the Domestic Workers Alliance. Zaydee Sanchez / CalMatters
In Los Angeles it’s rare to see actors and housekeepers standing shoulder to shoulder on picket lines, or TV writers standing behind UPS drivers fighting for better pay.
Yet such signs of solidarity across social classes are prominent features of what some are calling a “hot labor summer” sweeping California. Strikes have ground Hollywood to a halt. At the same time thousands of workers who make the city run are putting pressure on employers to pay living wages in an increasingly unaffordable state.
So far this year there have been 53 labor strikes in California involving 276,340 participants, according to Cornell University’s Labor Action Tracker.
“There’s staggering solidarity,” said Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, head of the California Labor Federation. “I think it’s in levels we haven’t seen before. If you look at the difference between what a fast food worker makes and a writer makes, it’s smaller than the difference between what either of them makes and their CEO.”
This week alone more than 11,000 city workers plan to strike at several locations in Los Angeles, and hotel workers are expected to continue their “rolling strikes” that temporarily target various hotels.
It’s hard to say if the inter-union unity will work, experts say. Some employer groups haven’t returned to the bargaining table after weeks or months of strikes.
UPS recently reached a tentative deal with the Teamsters, averting what would have been a historic national strike. And recently, the group representing Hollywood studios met with striking TV writers about bargaining.
Unity Across Classes
Across-class solidarity isn’t the only factor boosting labor actions, union leaders and experts say. The size of the unions involved and an overwhelmingly union-friendly state Legislature also are bolstering the efforts of tens of thousands of organized workers.
So far this year there have been 53 labor strikes in California involving 276,340 participants, according to Cornell University’s Labor Action Tracker. That doesn’t include strikes that began last year.
“I have a message for those white collar crime syndicates in Hollywood known as Amazon, Netflix and the rest of them: When you take one of us on, you take all of us on.”
SEAN O'BRIEN, GENERAL PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS
In 2022, there were 96 strikes with 92,527 participants, and in 2021 there were 52 strikes with 64,849 participants.
The article titled “‘Staggering solidarity’: How California’s summer strikes broke down wealth, class barriers” appeared first on CalMatters.org.
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