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Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers’ Strike Rages

L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions
Courtesy WGA

Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students.

More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane Austin among the speakers in support of the United Teachers of Los Angeles.

“It’s important for us to support our fellow union members,” Austin said. “It’s all about showing solidarity and supporting better education for our children.”

SAG-AFTRA member Patrick Fabian (“Better Call Saul”) spoke as an LAUSD parent. L. Scott Caldwell (“Lost,” “Southland”), Ellen Crawford and national vice president Clyde Kusatsu were among those attending.

For its part, the Writers Guild of America West has adopted Hancock Park Elementary School, near its headquarters on Fairfax Avenue as its picket line location for two days to join striking teachers and support staff at the school during their 7:30-9:00 a.m. weekday picket shift. WGA West President David A. Goodman, Michele Mulroney and board member Kieran Mulroney, and “Adam Ruins Everything” star Adam Conover were on the picket line in support of UTLA.

“All workers deserve fair wages and good working conditions, especially our public school teachers and the staff that supports them, so we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the UTLA in this difficult struggle,” said Goodman. “But for the members of the Writers Guild, this is not only about labor solidarity; many writers, like myself, went to public school, and got our start as writers under the tutelage of dedicated teachers like the members of UTLA. We owe our teachers a debt; without them we wouldn’t be here.”

Local 399 Teamsters secretary-treasurer Steve Dayan said the Hollywood Teamsters have adopted Dixie Canyon Elementary School in Sherman Oaks for their strike picketing this week.

“I think that the UTLA is getting a lot of support because they’re making this strike about student issues such as having enough nurses to staff every day,” he said.

“You have the right to honor the United Teachers Los Angeles picket lines,” the Teamsters union said on its web site. “Teamsters don’t cross picket lines! If you are filming on a location at a school that has an active picket line you do not have to cross. We urge members to stand in solidarity with educators by honoring their picket lines.”

As far as parents working in Hollywood, studios are running headfirst into the crisis with parents — and opening their doors to children.

Paramount Pictures sent a companywide note this week offering a list of resources for employees with school-aged kids, according to a memo obtained by Variety.

“We understand that the strike may impact some of your childcare situations, and are providing the following resources to help alleviate stress during this time and help you balance your childcare needs with your work commitments,” the memo read.

Flexible work arrangements on the lot include starting shifts at 7 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m., working remotely or bringing kids to the office (Paramount has a preexisting emergency daycare service for kids up to 5, complete with teachers, activities and snacks). Likewise, insiders at Warner Bros. said they’ve been ahead of the strike and encouraging staff to talk to their managers about workarounds.

Fullscreen Media, a content studio based around digital content creators, say the company’s employees have taken them up on remote working scenarios or bringing their kids to work for the past two days.

“It helps reaffirm our approach that employees bring their whole selves to work — whether they are parents or caregivers or spouses and partners — they don’t leave that at the door. We need to be able to support their whole identity and not just their employee role,” says Fullscreen HR executive Sheauen Chung.