L.A. AFL-CIO Pledges to Send Picketers to ‘Biggest Loser’

Organization represents 350 unions and more than 800,000 workers.

The leader of the LA County AFL-CIO affiliate, Maria Elena Durazo, vowed Tuesday to send picketers in support of striking workers on The Biggest Loser if and when requested by IATSE and promised to “put the full weight of L.A. County labor” behind the job action.

The organization, formally known as the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, represents 350 unions and more than 800,000 workers. Durazo told The Hollywood Reporter that the organization had recently demonstrated its resolve in such matters by sending a caravan of 20 cars and two big rigs bearing $40,000 worth of food on a two-hour journey to support 800 striking workers in the desert community of Boron, Calif.

Durazo and IATSE representatives were joined today at a news conference by 20 other union leaders, including representatives of SAG and AFTRA, as well as members of the striking crew. Unions represented included SEIU, UNITE HERE, CWA and the California Federation of Teachers. Additional entertainment unions included the IBEW, Laborers and Teamsters Local 986, which represents employees at SAG, among others.

The unions at the news conference unanimously voted earlier in the morning to “sanction,” i.e., endorse, the strike, which is now in its second week. The 50 Loser workers are seeking a union contract primarily in order to secure pension and health benefits.

Also at the news conference, a crew member announced that a fund had been created to support the striking (and, thus, out of work) crew. An online comment earlier in the day stated that $4,200 had been raised so far.

A representative of the Loser production companies was not available for comment.