Eyewitness report Picket line drama: scab joins union

BURBANK, Calif. – Hollywood entertainment workers, all union members, joined a real-life drama when they turned out in force to support the grocery workers picket line at the Pavilions store Dec. 4, the 54th day of the strike. Nearly 1,000 workers had encircled the entire shopping center as the rally got under way, when it was discovered, unbelievably, that a scab truck delivery was going on in the back of the store.

Some 200 protesters and Teamsters converged on the driver and truck, stopping the work. A union rep told the dumbstruck driver: “Quit this job and delivery and join the union. We’ll get you a real job with union wages and benefits.” Later on, during the rally, the driver called the union rep explaining, “I dropped the truck off and left the job and I’m ready for work and to join the union” – an instant union member in the making!

President John Connolly of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and President Melissa Gilbert of Screen Actors Guild told the workers, “In our industry, actors, writers, directors, editors, cinematographers, grips, electricians, art directors, musicians, sound-recording artists, and broadcasters understand the importance of health care benefits and the union contracts that protect those benefits. “We stand here today, shoulder-to-shoulder with you, to fight against the corporate greed that drives down our standard of living.”

Mike Farrell (actor from the television series “MASH”), who is vice president of the SAG/AFTRA local, described the group of SAG members who have been visiting the UFCW picket lines in a motor home, distributing food. So many TV and movie personalities were present and mentioned I couldn’t keep track of all the names. But to me, they were all just workers out to support their fellow workers in the greatest tradition of solidarity.

The SAG/AFTRA Singers performed and their musicianship and harmony sent chills up my spine. This was just indicative of the spirit and breadth of support of the event that I will never forget. I’ve been to several of these labor rallies lately and the trend is a powerful message being sent to the bosses that we, as workers, stand together in solidarity. A friend and comrade of mine told me, “The grocery workers are not just fighting for their jobs, they are fighting for us too!” This fact was quite apparent here. Great job, SAG/AFTRA, for us working folks. We are all one with the grocery workers.

The author can be reached at kelsdrumr@webtv.net.