City Council Opts to Support Strikers

It ended up as the last agenda item during a long meeting, but the Culver City council agreed to write a letter in support of the strikers on August 14, 2023. With Council member Dan O’Brien offering his own union membership as an example of how central labor rights are to quality of life, the required agreement of ‘three nodding heads’ was made by O’Brien, Council member Freddy Puza and Mayor Albert Vera, Jr. 

“The adoption of a statement in support of Union workers currently on strike, including but not limited to Writer’s Guild of America and Unite Here Local 11,” as introduced by Vera,  gave Puza a chance to offer remarks. “I’m very much in  support… of their right to strike and their right to free speech. Unions are the backbone of our industries and the heartbeat of our economy… supporting union workers on strike supports fairness and respect…this is not a privilege but a fundamental right.”

O’Brien, who was attending the meeting remotely, works as a film editor at Fox. He identified himself as a member of NABET Local 53, saying “A lot of my co-workers are on strike – all the benefits I get are because of my union – all the things that council member Puza said. I support collective bargaining, I think it’s a good thing. [We should] support the fight for their rights. We need to have our labor unions strong.”

Council member Goran Eriksson felt that the council was “not really elected to take these positions for one side or another…[we should] ask the parties to solve this… We have a lot of third party casualties who can’t do [anything] while the studios are down.”

Several members of the audience spoke from the podium, including Cultural Affairs Commissioner Jeannine Wisnosky Stehlin, who offered her decades of membership in SAG-AFTRA as an example of why supporting the unions was essential. 

With the council in agreement, the city staff will create the letter and it will be returned to the agenda at a future meeting. 

Judith Martin-Straw

Updated – This article originally identified Dan O’Brien as a member of IATSE Local 63. It has been corrected – he is a member of NABET (National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians) Local 53

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