How Unions are Pushing Hollywood Workers to the Polls

Labor News, Industry News

Reprinted from The Hollywood Reporter by Katie Kilkenny on October 29, 2020.

With just days before Election Day, Hollywood unions are making the last-minute case to their members to get out and vote — and, in some cases, touting the appeal of pro-labor 2020 candidates in the process.

The Screen Actors Guild, the Costume Designers Guild, IATSE and the Writers Guild of America West are among the unions currently appealing to members who aren’t among the over 66 million Americans who have already voted early in 2020 to do their civic duty. SAG-AFTRA, which is non-partisan and does not endorse candidates but does lobby for policies that benefit their members, is organizing a “Get Out the Vote” panel (featuring actors yet to be announced) that will take place on November 2 and be livestreamed to members. The union is also releasing several voting videos this week urging members to go to the polls or mail in ballots. …

Earlier in the 2020 election, IATSE International initiated its first-ever text-messaging campaign to urge members to vote, in addition to an email campaign. The union’s novel text-banking program has been a “targeted campaign,” said one IATSE representative, that has focused on people who are not yet registered to vote. (Some states — like Nevada — have recently restored felons’ voting rights, so reminders will also go out to them.) Also relatively new for the union has been a program that launched in fall 2019 mandating that each local union appoint a political coordinator so that members have an in-person resource for political questions. As Election Day nears, IATSE will focus its voter-education efforts on instructing members how to track their ballots and learn if they have been accepted. IATSE endorsed Joe Biden for president in May, and locals have issued their own endorsements of more local candidates. …

THR 10/29

About Jeffrey Burman 861 Articles
Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at