The Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA have filed grievances with the National Labor Relations Board against NBCUniversal in a dispute over disruptions to picketing efforts, alleging that sidewalks were blocked outside the Los Angeles studio.
The unions said in their filing that the studio, which is one of several targeted by picketing writers and actors, engaged in unfair labor practices by limiting their ability to march outside the studio’s buildings.
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According to the complaints, the studio “interfered with, coerced, and restrained employees” in exercise of their rights.
The guilds alleged that sidewalks designated as picketing locations were obstructed by construction fencing, forcing picketers onto the streets where two marchers were struck by a car. The unions did not say whether any individuals were injured.
They also alleged that NBCUniversal refused to provide barriers to establish pedestrian walkways for picketers to use.
The WGA and SAG-AFTRA had no immediate comment. NBCUniversal said it was aware of the complaints and supported the unions’ right to demonstrate safely.
“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,” the studio said in a statement. “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.”
The Hollywood Reporter first reported on the labor complaint.
The WGA has been on strike since May 2. Its members picketed not only the studios’ headquarters in Los Angeles and New York but also production locations in an effort to halt filmmaking, an effort that was largely effective.
The WGA had been in negotiations with the AMPTP since March 20 but the sides failed to agree to a deal over issues including pay, streaming residuals and the use of artificial intelligence.
SAG-AFTRA joined the writers on picket lines Friday as temperatures soared in Los Angeles. The actors’ union, which has 160,000 members, also could not come to a deal with studios after five weeks of talks. It was seeking increases in pay to counter the impact of inflation as well as a share in revenues from streaming.
The AMPTP has blamed the actors’ union for walking away from its proposals, and disputed SAG-AFTRA’s allegations that the studios had stonewalled the performers.