News & Commentary

July 19, 2023

Jacqueline Rayfield

Jacqueline Rayfield is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s News and Commentary, striking Hollywood actors and writers filed a grievance with the NLRB claiming NBCUniversal infringed on workers freedom to picket by blocking a picket area, UNITE HERE Local 11 hotel workers accuse hotels of failing to hire Black workers as full-time employees and using the strike-breaking app, Instawork, which penalizes workers who strike, and UPS pilots say they will not cross the picket like if the Teamsters go on strike.

Both the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA actors’ union filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing Comcast-owned NBCUniversal of blocking a public sidewalk used for picketing with construction. The obstruction forced striking workers to picket in busy streets where “two picketers have already been struck by a car,” according to the WGA’s complaint. The guilds say that this construction interferes with members’ right to engage in protected strike activity.

UNITE HERE Local 11 hotel workers attended their first bargaining session on Tuesday since strikes began in early July. The Union accused hotels of failing to hire Black workers in full-time roles, particularly in hotels near neighborhoods with significant Black populations, but bringing in Black workers for part time work during the strike through temporary work apps. The Union also filed a complaint with the NLRB against Instawork, a strike-breaking temporary work app, claiming the app automatically penalizes workers who participate in a legally protected strike. Replacement workers on Instawork who refuse to attend shifts for struck work have faced decreased ratings in the app and have had their future shifts canceled. Hotel representatives left Tuesday’s bargaining session after the union proposed hiring all replacement workers, including a higher percentage of Black workers, as full-time workers at bargaining hotels.

Over 3,300 UPS pilots represented by the Independent Pilots Association (IPA) say they will not cross the picket line if the Teamsters go on strike when their contract expires on August 1. This move could ground most UPS airplanes for the duration of the strike.

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