Unions throw star power behind bill

Showbiz guilds launch Artists4WorkersChoice

Entertainment industry labor unions and the AFL-CIO are using star power to support a bill in Congress that would make it easier for unions to organize.

The unions released an online video Thursday dubbed “Artists4WorkersChoice” in support of the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for employees to organize through card checks and provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts.

“People associate actors with fame and glory,” said Amy Brenneman in the video. “The truth is for a long time my union contract was the reason I could support my family. That’s why I support the Employee Free Choice Act. Because each worker, regardless of their field, deserves the freedom to bargain for a contract, for a better life.”

Those appearing in the video include F. Murray Abraham, Gabrielle Carteris, James Cromwell, Mike Farrell, Elliott Gould, Valerie Harper, Michele Lee, Richard Masur, Esai Morales, Connie Stevens and Jerry Stiller, along with Screen Actors Guild president Alan Rosenberg and American Federation of Television & Radio Artists president Robert Reardon.

“I’ve belonged to three unions in my life, and every one gave me the freedom to bargain with my co-workers for decent hours, benefits and safe conditions,” Stiller said. “If all workers don’t have the freedom to form unions, I don’t see how we can fix our economy.”

Besides the AFL-CIO, SAG and AFTRA, the video was developed by Actors’ Equity, the American Federation of Musicians, the Directors Guild of America, the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the Writers Guild of America East and the Writers Guild of America West.

The Employee Free Choice Act was introduced in Congress in March. Opponents have been blasting the bill, alleging that the additional use of card check elections will lead to overt coercion by union organizers.

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