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Hollywood unions file labor complaint against NBCUniversal

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The Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild this week have filed grievances with the National Labor Relations Board against NBCUniversal over what the unions call unsafe picketing conditions.

The unions, on strike after contract negotiations broke down, are accusing NBC of violating their right to strike safely because of an ongoing construction project. The construction is obstructing the sidewalk next to the studio and has forced the picketers to demonstrate near a much busier sidestreet.

According to the NLRB filing, the construction project has “forc[ed] picketers to patrol in busy streets with significant car traffic where two picketers have already been struck by a car and by refusing to provide K-rail barriers to establish pedestrian walkways for picketers to use after Los Angeles Police Department advised the employer weeks ago in the interest of public safety to do so.”

The studio has said that it believes it has fulfilled its legal duties and, despite current conditions, it supports “the unions’ rights to demonstrate safely.”

The filing comes amid a bad public relations week for Hollywood studios. On Monday, picketers posted photos of trimmed trees that the striking workers used for shade amid Los Angeles’ summer heat.

Organizers have accused the studios of intentionally creating an unsafe environment for striking workers.

This week marks the 11th week of the writers’ strike and the first full week of the actors’ strike. The labor battle is putting extreme pressure on the industry, which had already lost billions since the struggle began.

Actors and writers are looking for changes in residual payments, increased workplace protections and regulations on artificial intelligence amid the streaming era.

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