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Studio Clean-Up Janitors at L.A.s major studios are pushing for a union

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 07:07 PM
Original message

Studio Clean-Up
Janitors at L.A.s major studios are pushing for a union


An eager flock of fans pressed up against the barricades at NBCs pre-Emmys party at posh Beverly Hills restaurant Spago on August 26, calling for each arriving TV star to sign autographs and pose for pictures. But their celebrity worship was soon interrupted by the approaching cries of demonstrators marching down the street.

No justice, no peace!

No contract, no peace!

No wages, no peace!

No health care, no peace!

Photo by Kevin Scanlon
Janitor Norma BarillAs and her daughter, Jennifer BarillAs, have been on the picket lines

Fronted by a large banner and handing out flyers to everyone in arms reach, the demonstrators advanced down the street to the corner of Caon Drive and Wilshire Boulevard and staked out spots on both sides of the road. Led by an impressively sonorous woman, they belted out chants that echoed off the surrounding buildings.

The demonstrators, members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1877, were crashing the party as part of an escalating campaign to improve the situations of janitors working for biz giants like NBC Universal, Disney-ABC, Warner Music Group, the CW, and Fox.

SEIU Local 1877 spokesperson Lisa Gallegos explained that the union was putting a public face on entertainment-industry duplicity.

There are two faces to Hollywood, she said. Janitors play a supporting role in the glamorous entertainment industry, which is critical to the regions economy. Yet, behind the scenes, many janitors who work at the properties of industry mainstays are being paid what Gallegos called poverty wages between the state minimum wage ($6.75) and $7.25. Moreover, she said, over half of the industrys service workforce do not have employee health care.

Perhaps most troubling are findings by the Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund (MCTF), an independent watchdog group, which revealed that poor working conditions are prevalent for janitors working in the entertainment industry. Janitors testimonies and subsequent MCTF investigations have exposed cases in which workers were not paid overtime, not given rest breaks, and not paid workers compensation for on-the-job injuries. They even found examples where lack of sufficient equipment for dealing with chemicals was causing janitors to have uncontrollable nasal hemorrhaging on a daily basis. These abuses have been reported to the California Labor Commission and the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health and are presently under investigation.

The problem, Gallegos said, is that industry giants are contracting out labor to irresponsible, non-union janitorial contractors. Thats why the union is agitating for entertainment companies to either ask their contractors to allow a union to form or switch contractors altogether.

FULL story at link above.

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Ninja Jordan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 07:09 PM
Response to Original message
1. SEIU is great
One of the last great labor unions in this country. I hope everyone in the service industry joins them. If Congress won't raise the minimum wage, then service workers must unionize.
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