Union Discloses Possible Strike Against MPTF

10:33 PM PST 02/23/2013 by Jonathan Handel
Jessica Chou
Union members handed out fliers at the Jeffrey Katzenberg-sponsored Night Before gala.

The next couple bargaining sessions could determine whether caregivers and others walk out. Meanwhile, the union distributed leaflets at Katzenberg’s pre-Oscar MPTF fundraiser.

Labor relations between the Motion Picture and Television Fund and MPTF caregivers and other unionized employees have deteriorated to the point that a strike may take place in several weeks, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The union’s chief negotiator, Eric Kizziee, told THR that if bargaining scheduled for March 7 breaks down, the union will file a 10 day notice of intent to strike.

Such notice is required for strikes against health care institutions. Kizziee said the notice would specify a three-day walkout. Another bargaining session is scheduled for March 13, which could become the last opportunity to head off a strike.

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Saturday evening, a group of union members handed out flyers at the Jeffrey Katzenberg sponsored annual fundraiser for the MPTF. (THR was a media sponsor of the event.) Kizziee said they conveyed the message that the caregivers “are here to help, but we want to be respected.”

He added that security at the hotel had been beefed up, making leafleting difficult, but that the leafletters had received “very positive feedback” from those who did see the leaflet.

The ongoing labor dispute concerns staffing levels, wage rates, proposed new health insurance premiums, and a proposed freeze of employees’ existing pension plan.

The employees, represented by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, picketed the fund’s Woodland Hills care facility and hospital Thursday, as well as most of its clinics.

Bookmark The Hollywood Reporter’s Labor Page for the most in-depth coverage of entertainment unions and guilds.

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