Report Work Loss Due to WGA Strike
Below are answers to frequently asked questions from members.
Do I have to cross a WGA picket line if there is one at my work site?
You can make a personal choice not to do so and you must inform your supervisor you won’t be at work, indicate why and make sure that is in writing. Please note, if you choose not to report to work under this circumstance, you will likely not be entitled to collect unemployment.
Can I be retaliated against or fired by my employer if I am working and choose not to come to work because I won’t cross a picket line?
Employees honoring picket lines may be temporarily replaced by workers who are willing to cross a picket line. But you cannot be retaliated against, nor discharged and only permanently replaced due to legitimate business considerations of an overriding nature, not having to do with your having not crossed the picket line. If any of this happens to you, please contact us immediately.
Can I join a WGA picket line to show support?
Yes If you are not currently employed, or if you are and want to join a picket line during non-work hours, you are free and encouraged to do so. If you do so, you are prohibited from making your own picket signs with the IA and/or Local 700 logos. There is to be no indication or representation made by you on behalf of the IA or Local 700. But please get out there with your union t-shirts, caps, etc.
If I am working somewhere there is not a physical picket line, is reporting to work still considered crossing a picket line?
What if I am working remotely from home and I want to support the writers, can I stop working?
If you are working remotely, the job protections noted above in number 3 will likely not apply as you would not be faced with crossing a picket line in order to get to your worksite. (This would not apply if there were an IA/Local 700-sanctioned strike in which you would be fully expected to comply with your obligations as a member whether remote or not.)
What are my rights and obligations if I am working on location and the production shuts down and my work ceases?
Your employer is still legally required to arrange and pay for you to return home. The employer is responsible for your housing and per diem until they make arrangements for you to leave for home. This is true whether you are working in the United States or outside the country under the agreement. You will need to take the return trip offer as they will not be required to continue housing you if you refuse the offer. If your employer refuses to get you home or you have a lease or other ongoing obligations that your employment required, please contact us. If you are working on location in Canada, other labor laws apply reading picket lines so please contact us if this is the case.
Am I entitled to unemployment if I am laid-off because of this strike?
If it due to a direct result of a strike of another labor organization as is the case here, you may be entitled to collect unemployment. If you are replaced, and the production subsequently shuts down, some states may not honor your unemployment claim. States do vary in their unemployment guidelines. If you are in this situation and you file for unemployment and that is denied, please contact us.
What is a neutral gate?
Employers can set up a neutral gate with no picket line to allow individuals working on non-struck productions to enter. If the WGA is not striking the production you are working on, you can use a neutral gate to continue going to work. However, if the WGA is on strike on the production you are working on, then you are not permitted to use a neutral gate and must cross the picket line to continue working.
How can I support the WGA?
The WGA has put together a WGA on Strike page that lists how individuals can show their solidarity and support and includes picket schedules and locations.
Will our dues be reduced or waived because of the strike?
The Local 700 Board of Directors will make that decision dependent on the length of the strike and the loss of work for our members, as was done during the pandemic.
Will I lose my health insurance?
The MPI Plans health care eligibility is based on working hours and are structured so that participants are earning future qualification based on current work hours being reported or banked hours. There are various qualifying periods so you should check out your personal situation on the MPI app or website. If you are not working for a long period of time, your health care coverage could be affected. There should be absolutely no expectation that the employer directors on the Board of the MPI Plans would support any accommodations for participants as a result of a strike, as was done during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Does our Guild support the strike?
We are absolutely in support of the WGA’s efforts to secure a fair and equitable contract for their members. But, Local 700 cannot advise members to honor another union’s picket line due to IATSE No Strike clauses.