2,918 Strikes Tracked – 1,400 Georgia Clean Energy Workers Unionize – Writers Guild Allows Tony Awards to Go On

Steelworkers celebrate winning 697-to-435 in a vote at two rural Georgia plants making electric school buses (Steelworkers)Steelworkers celebrate winning 697-to-435 in a vote at two rural Georgia plants making electric school buses (Steelworkers)

Greetings from the Burgh, where we were busy preparing for an election night when we discovered that Payday Report’s Strike Tracker had crashed. 

2,918 Strikes Tracked & Then Our Tracker Crashed

For over three years, we have run Payday Report’s Interactive Strike Tracking Map, and last week, we tracked our 2,918 strikes. 

However, we got an unexpected surge in traffic last week, with over 27,000 viewers in one day, which completely crashed the site. We currently have some IT guys working to fix it, but it will be pretty extensive work. 

Donate to help us keep the Strike Tracker going. Please, sign up as one of our 749 recurring donors today. 

Dalton, Georgia Bus Drivers Strike 

In Dalton, Georgia, school bus drivers and members of ATU Local 1211, employed by First Students, have gone on strike as they remain frustrated with bargaining with local Dalton Public Schools. 

“It’s hard to be away from the students especially when they’re used to seeing you know, that same bus driver every day,” Dalton Schools Sub Bus driver Jennifer Jones told WTVC. “We have to make a stand this kind of happens it’s just a hardship on everybody.”

For more, check out WTVC. 

1,400 Georgia Electric Bus Workers Vote to Unionize

In Georgia, over 1,400 electric school bus workers at Blue Bird plants in Fort Valley and Macon, Georgia, voted to unionize this week by a margin of 697-to-435. 

“Workers at places like Blue Bird, in many ways, embody the future,” United Steelworkers Southeast director Dan Flippo told the New York Times. “For too long, corporations cynically viewed the South as a place where they could suppress wages and working conditions because they believed they could keep workers from unionizing.”

For more on the drive, check out the New York Times. 

Writers Guild to Allow Tony Awards to Go On 

While the Writers’ Guild strike has canceled many TV shows and even award ceremonies, the union this week decided to grant a waiver to the “Tony Awards” to allow writers to work on the show during the strike. 

After the Tony Awards met a number of conditions set forth by the Guild, the union agreed to allow the Tony Awards’ broadcast to go forward on June 11th. The awards are crucial for the careers of many upcoming performers, and the Actor’s Equity Union was thankful that the union would allow the show to go forward. 

“Thank you, @WGAWest and @WGAEast. @ActorsEquity members: time to double down on showing up at their pickets,” tweeted Actor’s Equity President Kate Shindle. 

For more, check out Playbill. 

Writers & Directors Union Differ on What Work Can Be Performed During the Strike 

The decision to grant a waiver to the Tony Awards highlights how the tension between unions is raising questions about what kind of work directors and writers do during the strike. 

The Director’s Guild (DGA) says that joint members of both the DGA and WGA can do some minor editing and trimming work referred to as “(a) through (h)” duties, but the Writers Guild disagrees. Hollywood Reporter has the story: 

The message, sent to members on Wednesday, drills down on a series of specific responsibilities the WGA considers a form of writing and has banned during the strike, called “(a) through (h)” duties. These services, which include cutting for time and small changes to dialogue made during or before production, are allowed to be performed by non-writers per the WGA’s contract, even though the union has said it considers them writing work. During the strike, the WGA has taken the position that “hyphenates” (writers who also work in other capacities, such as directors, actors and producers) cannot perform (a) through (h) services for a struck company.

Once again, writer-directors in this position can refuse to do those duties if the employer does not request directing services in writing, risking only temporary replacement. If an employer does request these services in writing, “you must continue to perform your DGA-covered services and your employer must indemnify you from any monetary loss, including costs of defense, arising from any WGA disciplinary action against you. You should also consult your attorney,” the DGA states.

This has set up some confusion for writer-directors who are caught between conflicting union messages, and certain dual members of the WGA and DGA have publicly stated they have individually decided to not perform their (a) through (h) duties. Sorry to Bother You writer-director Boots Riley took to Twitter on Thursday to say, “I, and a bunch of other dual DGA/WGA members, have decided we won’t be taking that advice” provided in the DGA message. He added, “It’s understood that this is a move of solidarity which will make the strike go faster.” Showrunner and director Christopher Cantwell (Halt and Catch Fire) stated that he’s aligned with this approach, while fellow showrunner-director Will Graham (Daisy Jones & The Six) tweeted “strongly agree” in reply to Riley’s post.

For more, check out the Hollywood Reporter

Alright, yinz, I gotta run and cover the County Executive Election here, but we will have more tomorrow. 

Donate to help us improve our strike tracker. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 751 recurring donors today. 

Keep sending recipes, complaints, story ideas, and links to [email protected]. Thanks again for all the help. 

See yinz tomorrow, 


About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]