In the words of the Los Angeles Times, it is a “Hot Labor Summer” in southern California. At this time:
- The WGA (Writers’ Guild of America) has been on strike since May 2nd (11,000 writers on strike).
- Beginning July 4th weekend, UNITE/HERE (representing many hotel workers, including housekeepers, cooks, stewards, and servers), started rolling strikes at various southern California hotels (32,000 union workers in southern California’s Local 11).
- As of July 13th, SAG/AFTRA (Screen Actors’ Guild) also went out on strike (65,000 film and television actors).
That’s a lot of folks in southern California on strike or with pending labor disputes. In fact, it is the first time since 1960 that both writers and actors have been on strike at the same time.
You just drive down the street in Los Angeles, and there are picketers, signs, crowds, and cars driving by honking in support.
These strikes not only impact the union workers, but all of the businesses that support the film, television, and hospitality industries. Stories abound of restaurants sitting empty, because striking writers and actors can’t afford to eat out. Less customers means less working hours for the restaurants employees, which means they aren’t getting paid as much. One bartender I know says his income is down 40% since the strikes began. The trickle-down effect is real.
Anecdotal stories also abound about travelers cancelling visits to union hotels due to fear that labor actions will disrupt their stays. In fact, the Los Angeles Times reports that Local 11 is starting to ask certain conventions to cancel plans in Los Angeles for later this summer and early fall. Less visitors means less business for hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, car services, etc. Again, the trickle-down effect is very real.
The Emmy Awards (which are supposed to be September 18th in Los Angeles) might get cancelled, as may many other awards shows. That means less work for stylists, caterers, and the entire beauty and fashion industries. The nominated talent can’t promote their products either, so that is less work for publicists, stylists, journalists, event planners, and the locations they typically frequent. Also less pre-Emmy work means less folks traveling for those promotional events, and ultimately to the Emmys, which impacts hospitality and the rest.
The impacts are endless. The labor movement is alive-and-well in southern California this summer, and many local businesses may continue to feel the economic impacts for many months to come.