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Writers and actors push for unemployment benefits amid monthslong strike

Unionized writers and actors rallied in front of the Amazon studios in Culver City Thursday in favor of a state bill that would grant them unemployment benefits during their strike.

The Writers Guild of America has been on strike for four months, and members say it’s exhausting their savings. The actors union, SAG-AFTRA, went on strike in July.

“I’m going broke. My savings are already reaching their end. I depend on help from my family and food banks to get food,” one member said.

The new state bill could be what allows actors and writers, as well as people in other sectors that depend on television and movie productions, to keep from going under as the strikes continue.

The bill, SB799, still needs to be passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. It would grant benefits to striking workers, some of whom have had to rely on loans, donations and other work for the last few months.

Striking writers and actors in New York and New Jersey are already eligible to receive unemployment benefits after 14 days on strike, but that’s not the case in California.

“Everything rises except the salaries, and that’s why there are so many strikes,” one person said during Thursday’s rally.

In a letter sent to California lawmakers, union representatives said the state’s unemployment system provides a safety net for workers who lose their jobs. There is no reason why striking workers should be denied fundamental lifelines, the representatives said.

Lawmakers have until Sept. 14 to approve the bill.

Lee esta historia en español aquí.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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