Monday, February 27, 2012

Teamsters walk the line in CA, OH, NY and IL today

Today Teamster members of Local 399 are walking the line outside of Original Productions in Burbank, Calif., in solidarity with "1,000 Ways to Die" crew members who were fired for trying to join IATSE. The workers were replaced with scabs.

Today in Burbank.
Original employs a non-union crew to produce -- unbelievably -- "Ice Road Truckers," "Storage Wars" and "Deadliest Catch." The company halted production on the Spike TV series on Feb. 16 when it fired more than two dozen workers for union activity. Local 399's business agent/organizer Steve Dayan explained to Deadline Hollywood,
This is a company that has not communicated with us at all. Our understanding is that Original Productions are crewing up again and that they are going to attempt to shoot again ... This is a company, when it comes to safety, to health benefits, to the people who made their show a success, do not do things the way they should. It is a recipe for abusing people. The bottom line is that’s wrong.
Local 727 Teamsters in Chicago Local 727 are walking the line at a downtown parking garage to tell the public about Hunter Parking's substandard wages and benefits. Hunter recently started running the garage and put eight union member jobs in jeopardy. Local 727 represents more than 3,000 people who work in Chicagoland's parking industry.

Local 727's president, John Coli Jr., said,
Our members have spent years in this garage, building relationships with the patrons. These men and women aren’t just the people who park your car. They are the people you see twice a day, every day, all year long. They are the ones you entrust with one of your most valuable possessions. They are important workers who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
Last week in Ohio.
Local 507 Red Cross Teamsters have been walking the line throughout Northeastern Ohio since Valentine's Day. Tammy Lettieri recently wrote a stirring account of their struggle in the Examiner:
These workers are facing losing their medical insurance in 12 days if negotiations do not lead to an agreement. These people believe enough in what they do to risk their insurance, and above that, their jobs. Every worker I have spoke with over the past few days have had a few things in common. They all love their job, they do not want to strike, but they feel that the safety of the donors is at risk until their working conditions improve.
You can watch it on youtube here.

We can't forget Sotheby's art handlers, who've been walking the line on the Upper East Side of New York since they were locked out seven months ago. Tomorrow night they'll be in front of the Whitney Museum to protest Sotheby's sponsorship of its Biennial Exhibit. Today a hoax press release went out claiming that the Whitney had severed ties with Sotheby's because of its treatment of the art handlers. The fake press release said, in part,
The Whitney recognizes that the financial speculation on art taking place in secondary sales of works benefits wealthy investors far more than the artists who created the works, let alone the workers who craft, move, install, maintain, or guard them. The Museum understands the importance of providing working people—including artists who must work second jobs to support their careers—with the livable wages and healthcare for which the Sotheby's art handlers are fighting. Sotheby's actions are a direct attack on the Museum's mission to support and collect the work of living artists. For these reasons, the Whitney cannot allow Sotheby's to tarnish the image of the Biennial any longer.
If only it were real....

We hope we're not overlooking anyone. Stay strong, brothers and sisters.