Union to Picket MPTF Hospital Thursday

Jeffrey Katzenberg Governors Awards - H 2013
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Jeffrey Katzenberg Governors Awards - H 2013

The looming question is whether Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Saturday pre-Oscar MPTF fundraiser will also see picket lines.

Caregivers and other employees of the Motion Picture and Television Fund will picket the fund’s iconic Woodland Hills care facility and hospital on Thursday, according to a union spokesperson. There will also be picketing at four other MPTF locations.

The action is not a strike, but ups the ante in the dispute over staffing levels, wages, and employee health-care and retirement benefits. Picketing will be conducted throughout the day, with a program of speakers to take place from about noon to 1:00 p.m.

Undecided as yet is whether the union will also picket the MPTF pre-Oscar party on Saturday, an annual fundraiser organized by Jeffrey Katzenberg. The spokesperson said that the union had not reached out to entertainment unions to seek their support.

STORY: MPTF Hospital Stonewalling Labor Negotiation, Says Union

The spokesperson also said that the union continues to work under the current, expired contract, including honoring the agreement’s no-strike clause. However, he said that state of affairs is only assured through the second of two scheduled bargaining dates, which is March 13. (The first date is March 8.)

After that, a strike could be called at any time. Members voted on Jan. 30 to authorize union leaders to call a strike at their discretion.

"Our members do not believe the hospital is bargaining in good faith," said the spokesperson, adding that the union had lowered its wage demand in the most recent bargaining session. He said, though, that negotiations are not "anywhere near impasse."

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