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GM pickets expand

SAG, AFTRA to target auto plants in five states for automaker's non-union ads

Striking union actors plan to picket General Motors plants in five different states in coming weeks as a way of intensifying their campaign against the automaker.

“We are going to take it to GM,” said strike captain Gordon Drake. “We have been attracting a lot of support from other unions like the Teamsters and the Intl. Brotherhood of Electrical Engineers refusing to cross the picket lines.”

Leaders of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists have targeted GM because it has shot a variety of non-union ads during the actors’ 16-week strike against the ad industry, including a Tiger Woods Buick spot.

Detroit hot spot

Over the past week, supporters have demonstrated twice at GM headquarters in Detroit and twice at the massive Hamtramck assembly plant in suburban Detroit, with the goal of exerting economic pressure on the automaker.

GM reps have said the SAG/AFTRA actions have not impacted operations. Picketers plan to return to Hamtramck today.

Besides ongoing actions in Michigan, plans are being worked up to hit GM plants in California, Georgia, Indiana and Wisconsin. Drake said picketers will avoid actions during shift changes so that members of the United Auto Workers, who operate under contracts with no-strike provisions, will not have to cross a picket line.

Corporate targets

The unions, now in their 17th week of striking, have been focusing efforts on specific corporate targets recently. In Los Angeles, SAG and AFTRA picketed a non-union Sears shoot and a McDonald’s in Hollywood on Tuesday. Boston strikers have scheduled a noon rally today at Copley Square with Jimmy Tingle as emcee.

The next negotiations between actors and advertisers are set for Sept. 13. The strike’s key issue is the ad industry’s proposal to shift network ad payments to a flat-rate buyout, which unions have labeled a rollback from the existing pay structure. SAG and AFTRA are seeking cable residuals, a monitoring system and Internet jurisdiction.

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