Letters to the Editor: Should striking workers get unemployment benefits?

Actor Jason Sudeikis, center, walks a picket line with striking writers and actors, Friday, July 14, 2023, at NBC Universal Studios in New York. The picketing comes a day after the main actors' union voted to join screenwriters in a double-barreled strike for the first time in more than six decades. The dispute immediately shut down production across the entertainment industry after talks for a new contract with studios and streaming services broke down. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Actor Jason Sudeikis, center, walks a picket line with striking writers and actors in New York on July 14. (Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press)
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To the editor: The California Chamber of Commerce, the mouthpiece for businesses big and small, suffers from myopia, as displayed by its opposition to a bill allowing workers on strike for more than two weeks to receive unemployment benefits.

The $5,850 per quarter for each striking worker would be spent at businesses — food markets, phone service providers, utilities, banks, landlords and insurance companies, and if there’s anything left over from that, maybe a candy bar to try to lift their spirits.

If anything, the chamber should focus its agenda on the issue of state-sponsored business subsidies, which it will never do, instead of some poor soul with no work income trying to live on $450 per week.

Buz Wolf, Studio City

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To the editor: People buy more at lower prices. This simple principle, widely known as demand theory, is highly predictive. Most obviously, it explains why retailers discount prices to sell unwanted inventory.

Gov. Gavin Newsom now faces a decision with strong demand theory implications: He must decide whether to sign Senate Bill 799, which would allow striking workers to receive unemployment insurance benefits.

Such benefits would reduce the cost of striking. Demand theory predicts that would lead to longer and more frequent strikes.

Strikes are bad for everyone: Employers lose production, employees lose wages, vendors who sell goods and services to striking employees lose business, and the state loses tax revenues.

Although many people may be sympathetic to the plight of striking workers, the bill’s unintended consequences would be severe. Newsom should veto SB 799.

Larry Harris, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I understand the reasons behind the actors' and writers' strike in Hollywood. But how long can they hold out?

The studios have deep pockets. They don't seem to be in a rush to settle.

Sure, there won't be a new season of shows, but does this really matter to the studios? TV stations have been showing reruns since I was a child. Today, viewers binge on Netflix and other providers with the shows they love.

The longer the strike goes on, the more viewers are finding other ways to watch the shows they love, to change channels to something new, and to try shows they've never seen. This is like the Disney-Spectrum fight that made a lot viewers find other ways to watch television.

Don't think viewers can't work their way around this. It's the actors and writers who are going to continue suffering.

Virginia Noyes, Glendale

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.