Hollywood Unions Line Up in Support of Possible L.A. Teachers Strike

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SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, the Teamsters and musicians union issued statements, but the WGA and DGA were silent.

If Los Angeles teachers walk off the job Monday as planned, they’ll have the support of at least four entertainment unions. SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, the Hollywood Teamsters and Local 47 of the American Federation of Musicians have all told THR that they will support the United Teachers Los Angeles union if they strike.

Two other key Hollywood unions, the Writers Guild and Directors Guild, did not respond to a request for comment. A host of non-entertainment unions supported the WGA in its 2007-08 strike by attending a large rally Nov. 20, 2007, but it was not immediately possible to determine whether UTLA was among them.

A labor stoppage would idle a reported 30,000 teachers in the nation’s second-largest school district, unless negotiations Friday or over the weekend produce a breakthrough.

“[This] is being described as one of the most important and biggest labor actions of the decade,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris in an email to members Thursday. “As with any strike, solidarity among all unions is critical to success and SAG-AFTRA members stand with our sisters and brothers of United Teachers Los Angeles as these deeply committed educators take action to improve learning conditions in their classrooms and for the future of public education.”

Carteris urged members to join the picket line at SAG-AFTRA’s adopted school, Hollywood High, or “at a school near you.” The message from IATSE, the union representing most crew was similar.

“IATSE supports L.A. teachers in their fight for smaller class sizes, fair wages and more nurses and counselors,” said international president Matt Loeb. “Staff from the West Coast Office will be joining the picket lines at schools in their communities, and many IATSE local unions have encouraged their staffs to do the same.”

Teamsters Local 399 president Steve Dayan told THR, “We plan on adopting a school and encouraging our Members to walk with our Sisters & Brothers at UTLA.”

AFM Local 47, representing studio musicians and others, said that it will be sending live performing musicians to attend one or two of UTLA’s planned events, possibly including a City Hall rally on Monday, and ”we are most certainly going to adopt a local school,” said the union spokesperson. She added that the union would be encouraging members to show support by attending the rally and volunteering at the adopted school.

Said IATSE’s Loeb, “No one shapes the future more than teachers, and their fight is our fight.”