News & Commentary

June 7, 2023

Jacqueline Rayfield

Jacqueline Rayfield is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s News and Commentary, Hollywood actors’ guild votes to authorize a strike, Norfolk Southern becomes the first major North American railroad to agree to paid sick time for all workers, and UNITE HERE Local 11 gears up for a strike vote.

Actors in the Screen Actors’ Guild – American Film, Television and Radio Artists (SAG–AFTRA), voted on Monday night to authorize a strike if they are not able to negotiate a new contract by their current contract’s June 30th expiration date. Roughly 48% of the union’s 160,000 members participated in the vote, and nearly 98% of those voted in favor of a strike. SAG-AFTRA President, Fran Drescher, highlighted the importance of adapting to the new digital age and streaming business model in their contract. The union expects to negotiate on benefits plans, protection from erosion of income by inflation and use of AI. As the WGA writers’ strike enters its sixth week, it may be getting company on the picket line.

On Monday, Norfolk Southern became the first major North American railroad to sign paid sick leave deals with all its employee unions. While rail workers were forces to accept a five-year deal last fall after Congress blocked their ability to strike, workers are finally beginning to see progress on sick leave across employers. Union Pacific similarly announced a paid sick leave deal with its engineers, though it still has workers left uncovered.

Tomorrow, UNITE HERE Local 11, a Los Angeles, Orange County and Arizona-based service workers’ union, will be holding a strike authorization vote with 15,000 hotel workers. The union’s co-president hopes this show of solidarity will help jump start the slow moving negotiation with Los Angeles area hotels. Major hotels among the employers in these negotiations include Marriott International and Hilton Hotels & Resorts. Results of the strike authorization vote are expected Friday morning.

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