The Hollywood Local 399 chapter of the Teamsters union is threatening a walkout that could once again bring film and television production to a screeching halt, with some in the industry speculating that it could end up being much more disruptive than the 2007-2008 writers strike. A strike-authorization vote is set for this coming Sunday, and it’s expected to give union leaders the ability to call for a work stoppage at any point after the Local’s current contract expires on August 1. At issue is a renegotiation involving more money for transportation workers—the union wants annual 3 percent raises over two years; the studios are offering 2 percent raises over three years—and should they end up striking, picket lines could cause major problems for everything from deliveries to getting actors on and off the lots, which could in turn lead to interruptions of the dozen-plus films and 20-plus TV shows scheduled to shoot this month.
The reason everyone is so worried? As opposed to striking writers—who may talk a big game, but whose biggest weapon is their ability to craft withering slogans—striking Teamsters (so lazy and surly!) are typically way more intimidating, so “in terms of tone, this could be worse.” Here’s a little taste of how the Teamsters have historically done things, to refresh your memory.