UCLA Labor Studies | November 3, 2023
UCLA’s labor studies program hosted a dynamic panel on October 24, featuring influential Los Angeles labor organizers. Speakers from SEIU 721, WGA, SAG-AFTRA and UNITE HERE Local 11 discussed their experiences on picket lines and the potential transformation of the American labor movement.
Salvador Zambrano, an executive board member at SEIU 721 which represents 10,000 public service workers, emphasized the importance of striking for fair working conditions and wages. Zambrano also highlighted the sacrifices workers make during strikes to convey their value.
SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents actors who have been on strike since July 14, is still negotiating. The union’s Strike Captain, Mary Flynn, revealed that 87% of members lack sufficient earnings for healthcare. Flynn stressed that the fight is about dignity, especially with major corporations leaving workers behind.
Zack Dodes of WGA, union that represents over 20,000 writers, celebrated a significant writers’ victory after a 148-day strike, emphasized the need for solidarity across unions.
The panel also featured UNITE HERE Local 11 organizers, including Labor Studies alum, Mary Entoma, who shared their journeys into organizing and the importance of respect and livable wages. As the 2024 election year approaches, panelists discussed how the the fight for labor unions remains crucial.
Overall, the panel highlighted the ongoing struggle and the determination driving these efforts. It showcased LA’s labor leaders’ commitment to fair working conditions and wages for all.