LOS ANGELES, July 18 (Reuters) – The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Hollywood Actors Guild SAG-AFTRA filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Comcast affiliate NBCUniversal (CMCSA.O) on Tuesday, accusing Company blocking a sit-down area.
Unions said NBCUniversal violated their freedom to picket and endangered their members by obstructing a public sidewalk next to the company’s California studio yard with an ongoing construction project.
The WGA complaint said NBCUniversal “forced the protesters to patrol busy streets with heavy vehicular traffic where two of the picketers were actually hit by a car.”
SAG-AFTRA said members were forced to “sit-in in an unsafe crowded location, exacerbating the dire public safety situation to interfere with the striking members’ right to engage in the protected, coordinated activity of picketing and patrolling outside their employer’s premises during a lawful strike.”
Hollywood actors joined film and television writers in picket lines for the first time in 63 years last week as they demanded higher wages in the broadcast era and limits on the use of artificial intelligence.
NBCUniversal said it supports unions’ rights to demonstrate safely, adding that it recognizes that the timing of the multi-year construction project has created challenges for protesters and that it is working with public agencies to increase access.
An NBCUniversal spokesperson said, “We strongly believe that the company has fulfilled our legal obligations under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and will cooperate with respect to any inquiries by the NLRA regarding this matter.”
Both unions asked the NLRB to order NBCUniversal to rectify the situation.
Additional reporting by Mrinmay Day, Paranjot Kaur, Gopi Babu in Bengaluru, and Lisa Richwin in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Shubindu Deshmukh. Editing by Leslie Adler and Jamie Fried
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