Fifty years after Dr. King’s Death, PPAs to Organize and Fight for Dignity and Respect

With the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fast approaching, New York City’s Parking Production Assistants (PPAs) – the film industry workers of  predominantly African-American and Hispanic descent who strive tirelessly to keep the streets clear of cars and pedestrians when film studios do shoots, including placing signage at site locations – will join Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network to announce their plans to unionize on Monday, Martin Luther King Day, January 15th, 2018 at 12pm at NAN’s House of Justice.

PPAs are consistently forced to work long hours for low wages in extremely deplorable conditions. PPA’s suffer inhumane conditions on the job, aren’t allowed to leave sites when there is inclement weather, and the on-location bathroom is usually not made available to them. There is no labor union for PPAs dedicated to protecting member interests and improving wages, hours, or conditions.

Last month, the Communication Workers of America (CWA) filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to seek union elections for all PPAs who work for Columbia, NBC/Universal, ABC Studios, HBO, and CBS/Viacom.

“Allowing Parking Production Assistants to unionize is clearly the right thing to do,” said NAN President and Founder Rev. Al Sharpton.“It is time these hardworking individuals struggling to make ends meet get the support they deserve, and I am proud to have them join me at NAN on King Day. An effort like this, in the spirit of Dr. King, is long overdue.”

“Right now, many workers of color in film are finding themselves working long hours for low wages in disgraceful conditions,” said Martin Luther King III, a supporter of the effort. “New York City and the film industry have allowed this injustice to continue for far too long, and in one of the most progressive cities in the nation, New York needs to take the lead in unionizing PPAs.”

The effort by PPAs to unionize comes on the heels of a 2016 class action lawsuit between production assistants and Paramount Pictures, where PPAs claimed in their initial January 21, 2016 filing that “many of the plaintiffs are forced to urinate and defecate into bottles and buckets in their vehicles.” In September, the lawsuit was settled for $700,000.

“With support from activists like us, Parking Production Assistants can start a coordinated and effective campaign to finally get a voice for their interests in the form of a union,” said Hazel Dukes, President of the NAACP New York State Conference. “It is time to move forward.”

WHEN: Monday, January 15th, 2018; 12:00 PM

WHERE: National Action Network House of Justice

106 West 145th St. (corner of Malcolm X Boulevard)

New York, NY 10039