Ross Lincoln contributed to this report
The contract battle between union members and the Motion Picture and Television Fund spread today from the negotiating table to the streets. As I reported last week that they would, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West set up protest lines Thursday in front of the MPTF’s hospital in Woodland Hills and other MPTF locations in protest of the tepid state of the talks. Chanting, “What is this about? Patient care!” and “We’re healthcare workers fighting back!”, about 25 demonstrators marched on the sidewalk in front of the facility. While not a formal strike action, the protest could be an opening act for union members showing up outside Jeffrey Katzenberg’s 11th Annual “Night Before” Oscars Fundraiser for the MPTF on February 23 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. A source told me last week SEIU is “seriously considering” going on the line outside the charity event.
Said MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher in a statement for Deadline: “MPTF continues to believe that the best place to negotiate with SEIU is around a table and not on the street or in the press. We know that industry members who encounter the informational pickets today fully understand that there are at least two sides to every negotiation and will be able to see through the rhetoric and trust that MPTF deals fairly and equitably with its labor force.”
A source told Deadline the hospital has increased workloads today to make scheduling breaks more difficult and make it harder for employees to attend the demonstration. (more…)