The Writers Guild of America is continuing picketing efforts against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers which started May 2nd. Now, the WGA and SAG-AFTRA have filed a grievance against NBCUniversal with the National Labor Relations Board citing the studio is infringing on the unions’ right to picket.
NBCUniversal claims the company was not intentionally preventing the WGA from picketing when it closed part of the sidewalk in front of the studio on Lankershim Boulevard due to a construction project.
Earlier this week, another sidewalk was closed as trees along the studio’s perimeter were trimmed, both obstructing protestors while eliminating the little shade available during an intense heatwave. NBCUniversal stated the landscaping project was not an intentional move to quell picketers, but part of regularly scheduled maintenance.
However, union members, now joined by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA), say closing the sidewalk impeded their freedom to picket while also posing a hazard to picketers.
The complaint was filed yesterday and reads:
“[The construction] has forced picketers to patrol on busy streets with significant car traffic where two picketers have already been struck by a car and by refusing to provide K-rail barriers to establish pedestrian walkways for picketers to use after Los Angeles Police Department advised the employer weeks ago in the interest of public safety to do so” and that NBCUniversal has “interfered with, coerced, and restrained employees in the exercise of their rights.”
In response to these allegations, NBCUniversal released the following statement as published by The Hollywood Reporter:
“We are aware of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA complaints. We strongly believe that the company has fulfilled our legal obligations under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and we will cooperate with respect to any inquiries by the National Labor Relations Board on this issue. While we understand the timing of our multi-year construction project has created challenges for demonstrators, we continue to work with public agencies to increase access. We support the unions’ rights to demonstrate safely.”