Somerville Projectionists Strike: Report From The Frontlines

Somerville Projectionists Strike:
Report from the Frontlines

By pissed off projectionist

May 1st marked the first day of the projectionist strike at the Somerville Theater in Davis Sq., after management refused voluntary union recognition of workers looking to affiliate with IATSE Local 182, who are organizing to demand better pay (most make minimum wage), health coverage, a healthier work environment, and a moredemocratic workplace.

A picket line was organized for 6pm in front of theater, which attracted the support of around 70-80 people at its strongest. While this was taking place, the Independent Film Festival (http://www.ifsboston.org) which was set to
take place at the theater went on as scheduled, as organizers disregarded the picket line and used scab projectionists to show their films.

As the picket line grew, police from both Somerville and Medford, as well as State Troopers, came out in force with at least a dozen cruisers blocking up the center of Davis Sq. On at least two occasions, police attacked the picket
line, touching off scuffles that resulted in a few injuries (one person was said to have been taken to the hospital). These incidents were unprovoked, and seemed to target individuals thought to be "leaders" of the strike (i.e.
people with the megaphone). Shoving erupted between the two sides, with aggressive police throwing fists and using choke and pain-compliance holds to subdue angry demonstrators. The situation eventually de-escalated and no arrests reported.

At around 9pm the picket line began to wind down, with promises of an even stronger picket scheduled for today (starting at 5pm). Overall the days events can be considered a resounding success. Despite repeated police provocation, we managed to maintain the integrity of our picket line. Over a thousand leaflets explaining the strike and soliciting support were distributed. Dozens of people respected our strike and refused to cross the picket line, as well as dozens more coming up to express their support.

A very special thanks goes out to Boston's anarchist, activist and radical labor communities who came out to stand with us in solidarity!

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO SUPPORT STRIKING PROJECTIONISTS

if anyone has a minute today and wants to help out please call the following numbers and demand union recognition for the striking projectionists:

Somerville Theater (ask to speak to Ian Judge, or the manager on duty): Phone: (617) 625-4088 Direct to manager phone: (617) 625-0261 Fax: (617) 625-5496

Call Melvin Fraiman at one of his many other phone lines: Car Phone: (617) 460-6909 Personal Fax: (617) 484-5823