A group of unionized private security officers caused a headache outside the Oscar Nominees Luncheon on Monday, staging a protest over the Academy’s plan to use non-union Security Industry Specialists employees at its March awards ceremony.
The group, represented by United Service Workers West, intended to deliver a letter to the Academy objecting to its plans. Citing an NPR story that found that more than half the SIS workers in the San Francisco Bay Area are part-time, with no benefits, a SEIU-United Service Workers West press release called the non-union company “an irresponsible contractor.”
“We feel that the Academy should rely on experienced, full-time officers, not part-time workers, to protect the public,” Los Angeles security officer Robert Branch said in the release.
The Academy, which uses many different levels of security at the Oscars including SIS, had no comment.
The SEIU-United Service Workers West release said that “a delegation of security officers and community leaders” would be delivering a letter asking the Academy to drop SIS in favor of “a more socially responsible contractor.” They have reportedly been pressuring the Academy to change its security for a couple of years, but have not engaged in this kind of public protest before.
A couple dozen people brought signs and banners to the Beverly Hilton before the event, engaging in picketing that briefly blocked the valet parking area. But their attempt to protest the Academy’s security couldn’t get past the Academy’s security, which would not allow any of the protestors inside the Beverly Hilton to deliver the letter.
The picketers moved away from the hotel entrance after about 10 minutes, and it wasn’t immediately clear whether the Academy had received the letter.