Four years ago the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power invested in power nodes at three busy filming locations around the city in an effort to help production companies save on the costs of electricity. The idea is that rather than “renting expensive, exhaust-spewing diesel generators to run their lights and equipment,” the companies can run their cables into essentially a giant electrical socket. The Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development promoted the nodes on its website saying that using the nodes “reduces greenhouse gas emissions, production costs and intrusion in the general public’s right of way. And it’s just one way we’re making a commitment to our signature industry.”
Too bad the nodes aren’t actually being used. Why? Because the Teamsters are worried that if these nodes are successful, IBT members who run the generators will be put out of a job. When asked for a comment, Hollywood Teamster Local 399 Secretary-Treasurer Steve Dayan, who is also chairman of the California Film Commission, refused.
Even bigger news is the recent picketing scene during the shooting of an upcoming Top Chef episode at Steel & Rye restaurant in Milton, Massachusetts. John King, Milton’s Deputy Police Chief, stated that the Teamsters Local 25 picketers were “threatening, heckling and harassing” crewmembers and slashed tires on fourteen different cars.
“As any employee of our show walked on or off set, the picketers verbally attacked us, calling the gays ‘fags,’ the blacks ‘niggers’ and most of the women ‘sluts and whores,’” one crewmember said. “It got worse as the day went on…They threatened to kill us, beat us, and said that they would find us and force us out of the city.”
Local leaders denied these allegations and said: “As a union, we have the right to lawfully demonstrate and protest the filming of nonunion, non-Massachusetts workers.”
Despite the union’s denial of the allegations, Massachusetts GOP has asked Attorney General Martha Coakley, who recently received a $15,000 donation from the local, to donate that money to a charity committed to ending domestic violence.