UCLA to Host Entertainment/Sports Labor Conference

The broad-ranging event aims to build bridges between scholars, professionals and practitioners.
AP Photo/Reed Saxon

The UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, whose focus is usually on traditional unions and workplaces, is going Hollywood this weekend, hosting a conference that looks at the unusual nature of work in the entertainment industry and its equally bespoke sibling, the sports industry.

The meeting, titled “Labor, Entertainment, & Sports: An Intersectional and Interdisciplinary Inquiry,” is a two-day, all-day affair, Friday and Saturday, April 17-18, at the Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills Hotel.

“Oftentimes the allure of celebrity culture in entertainment and sports allows us to forget about the labor being performed in these industries,” said Pamela A. Izvănariu, the Institute’s director of research and development, who’s organizing the forum along with UCLA Prof. Chris Tilly, IRLE’s director. “This conference is all about peeling back that celebrity layer, and examining what the work looks like, exploring the experiences of workers, identifying the obstacles they confront individually and collectively, and understanding their successes in context.”

Panelists from the entertainment industry include SAG-AFTRA’s Gabrielle Carteris (actor and executive vice president), Duncan Crabtree-Ireland (COO and general counsel), Jason George (actor and board member), Ilyanne Morden Kichaven (Los Angeles executive director) and Adam Moore (national director, EEO and diversity).

(Full disclosure: this reporter is also a panelist.)

Cosponsored by SAG-AFTRA and a number of UCLA and UC Riverside departments and programs, the conference intends to connect scholars and industry professionals and practitioners. Panels will address gender, racial, and sexual orientation representation and equity; the labor of student athletes; global and transnational issues; unions, collective bargaining and labor disputes; health and safety issues; economic security and working conditions; innovative entrepreneurship; artist/athlete rights and representation; and current labor and employment issues in the industries.

“The conference aims to highlight the importance of racial/ethnic, gender/sexual orientation, and class/labor analyses of labor and employment issues in these industries,” Izvănariu told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s imperative that we address these issues honestly and critically, to understand how systems of oppressions intersect to disadvantage different people in the industries and impact the work and workplace, so that we can identify appropriate solutions.”

She added that IRLE is “definitely planning on doing more work in the entertainment and sports fields, and [is] looking for some direction from this conference to guide us in our efforts.”

Izvănariu emphasized the diversity of panelists assembled for the conference. “From SAG-AFTRA executives; to players association attorneys; to premier scholars in law, social science, and medicine; to leading entertainment and sports attorneys; to actors, to radio personalities; to ex collegiate athlete/scholars … we’ve managed to bring together a fantastic, interdisciplinary, and diverse group of people who have never before been in a room together.”

Panels and panelists include:

Fans are Not Enough: Why Unions Matter in Entertainment and Sports

Gabrielle Carteris, Actors/Executive Vice President, SAG-AFTRA

Ilyanne Morden Kichaven, Executive Director, Los Angeles, SAG-AFTRA

Joe Briggs, Public Policy Counsel, NFLPA

Robert Guerra, Assistant General Counsel, MLBPA. 


Get in Where You Fit In: A Dialogue on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Entertainment

Tammi Mac, Writer, Director, Actor & Radio Personality at 102.3 KJLHFM

Brely Evans Actress, Singer, Comedian

Andy LYRIK Cruz, Choreographer, Dancer, & Entertainer. 


The Actors Roundtable, “Intersectional Identities, Labor, and the Entertainment Industry”

Jason George, Actor

Joanelle Romero, Actor, Filmmaker, Red Nation Media

Sonja Sohn, Actor, Writer. 


Student or Employee Athletes?: Confronting Exploitation and Examining the Collegiate Athlete Labor Conundrum

Amy McCormick, Emeritus Professor, College of Law, Michigan State University

Robert McCormick, Emeritus Professor, College of Law, Michigan State University

Michael LeRoy, Professor, School of Labor and Employment Relations, and College of Law, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Walter Thompson-Hernandez, Researcher, Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration, University of Southern California


Labor Conditions, Constraints, and Commoditization in Sports and Entertainment

Robert Flanagan, Konosuke Matsushita Professor, Economics, Stanford University

Alejandro Angee, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Miami Dade College

Erin Buzuvis, Professor of Law, School of Law, Western New England University


Making Moves: Labor Migration & Globalization in Sports

Carlos Martinez, Empire Athletes, Baseball Advisor/Player Representative, Attorney

Kyoung-Yim Kim, Visiting Assistant Professor, Sociology, Boston College and Rob Ruck, Professor, Sports History, University of Pittsburgh. 


Protecting the Rights of Artists and Athletes in Practice

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, Operating and General Counsel, Screen Actors Guild-America Federation of Television and Radio Artists

Joshua Schwartz, President, Relativity Sports

Jonathan Handel, Attorney, Entertainment & Technology, TroyGould

Garrett Broshuis, Attorney, Complex Litigation/Sports Litigation, Korein Tillery, St. Louis, Missouri


An Inquiry into Inequity: Gender, Sexual Orientation, & Labor in Entertainment

Zachary Price, Assistant Adjunct Professor, Assistant Researcher, Department of African American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

Erin Hill, Visiting Professor, Film and TV Production, University of California, Los Angeles & New York Film Academy

M.V. Lee Badgett, Director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Williams Distinguished Scholar, UCLA Williams Institute

L Scott Caldwell, Actor, Los Angeles Healthcare Safetynet Committee Chair, SAG-AFTRA


The Price of Play: Protecting the Health & Safety of Athletes

Deborah Brake, Professor of Law, School of Law, University of Pittsburgh

Daniel Daneshvar, Postdoctoral Researcher, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center, Boston University

Steve Silverman, Managing Partner, Silverman Thompson Slutkin White, LLC, Baltimore-Washington

Maria Dennis, Associate Counsel, National Hockey League Players’ Association


Racial Realities in Hollywood: Bringing Diversity and Representation into Focus

Darnell Hunt, Professor of Sociology, Director of Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

Adam Moore, National Director, EEO & Diversity, Screen Actors Guild-America Federation of Television and Radio Artists

Mari Castaneda, Professor, Director of Diversity Advancement, College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Kristen Warner, Assistant Professor, Telecommunication and Film, University of Alabama


Welcome to My Workplace: How to Explain the Concept of Workplace in Nontraditional Spaces like Sports

Joe Briggs, Public Policy Counsel, National Football Players Association. 


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