Saturday, May 18, 2024
Subscribe Now

Voice Of The Crew - Since 2002

Los Angeles, California

HomeColumnsUnion Roundup - July 2004

Union Roundup – July 2004


And so it’s
Edwards: The political
season goes
into high gear as the
irrelevancy of conventions
is further
proven, with both
party tickets now
set and the campaigns—
in these
months before the
Labor Day kickoff—
already in
high gear. We’ve reported here about
labor union support—Hollywood and
otherwise—for candidates like Gephardt
and Dean. We’ve talked about Kerry’s
positions on free trade (AKA “job flight”
if you’re, say, a member of FTAC—and
more about them in a minute), but we
haven’t talked about Edwards. Even the
President-select is talking about Edwards
these days, so now is a good time.
It should be no surprise that the
Senator from North Carolina’s position
is the same as that of the Senator from
Massachusetts: He says the U.S. should
incorporate basic labor and environmental
protections into any new trade
agreements, which is all well and good,
but what about the old ones? Edwards,
who made much of families struggling
to make ends meet in his primary trail
speeches, says that NAFTA should be
renegotiated, and that had he been in
the Senate at the time it came up, he
would’ve voted against it.
Will this excite Hollywood’s rank-andfile
worried about JOBS? Yes, the somewhat
hysterical capital letters do mean
we’re talking about the acronym for the
Senate bill discussed here a couple of
columns back. Said bill was an amalgam
of tax breaks and rule adjustments
that would allegedly get the beneficent
corporate sector to start hatching jobs
right and left. The upper chamber’s
version included some mild tax breaks
for mid- and low-budget films to stem
Hollywood “job flight,” and was backed
by the Golden State’s own Senators Boxer
and Feinstein.
The Tom Delay-led House, however,
doesn’t think too highly of the Sodom-and-
Gomorrah parked just south of Bakersfield,
and their recently passed version of JOBS
(one expects the musical version will add
the inevitable exclamation mark: JOBS!)
stripped the Tinseltown tax tips.
L.A.’s own Rep. Diane Watson released
this comment: “In my district, where the
entertainment industry is the main driving
force of our local economy, tens of
thousands of workers are hurt by the
phenomenon of runaway production. H.R.
4520 (the House version of JOBS) is a
big corporate gift that keeps on giving—
ignoring millions of workers, such as the
creative workforce who are hit hard by the
outsourcing of film production.”
In light of this, the gadfly-gang at
FTAC—the Film and Television Action
Committee—have asked the Bush administration
to fight back against the “lavish”
tax breaks for film production it claims
that countries like Canada, New Zealand,
Australia and even Brazil are, well, lavishing
on film producers. But FTAC isn’t
trying to move the we-still-hate-Jane-
Fonda crowd in the House; rather, they’ve
just filed a complaint with the Unfair
Trade Practices Task Force in the U.S.
Department of Commerce.
We’ll see whether that “working
through the system” approach works. The
other means of “working through the
system,” of course, is supposed to be the
election process, but we’ve already seen
that candidates who actually lose the vote
tally can marshal enough political muscle
to declare themselves the winner.
A quick perusal of the Political Money
Line website attests that the Hollywood
guilds, both above and below the line, are
lining up their PACs and giving money to
numerous Democratic campaigns.
Even outgoing ICG President George
Spiro Dibie—who lost his election bid
by virtue of chastising Watson for what
he perceived as “unilateral” action on the
JOBS! front when she, in turn, chastised
Universal Studios on the production flight
question—has come around to calling for
grassroots participation in this electoral
season. In his farewell message posted
on the ICG website, he says, in part, the
“issues range from nothing less than war
and peace… to the health and education of
families, neighbors and friends… and let’s
not forget the plight of our industry, which
is so vitally important to the cultural and
financial health of our country.”
He goes on: “It is easy to complain and
vent our frustrations on the Internet, but
if we are sincere about wanting change, it
is up to each of us to register, learn about
the issues and vote for what is right for
the future of our country, our families and
our Guild.
“Again, I can’t stress how important
it is for you to register and vote in the
upcoming November elections. Your
future and your children’s future depend
on it.” Stronger words, perhaps, than in a
more “regular” election cycle.
Don’t assume, by the way, that just
because it is an election year, everyone
involved in the campaign will pretend to
be against “job flight.” Tom Donohue,
president of the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce, accused affected Americans
of “whining” when corporations “outsourced”
jobs. “Despite the fact,” in
the words of AFL-CIO president John
Sweeney, “that these men and women are
the ones who suffer the resulting home
foreclosures, bankruptcies, loss of health
care and the missed chance for a college
education that follows such community
Sweeney’s talking about the same Tom
Donohue who reacted to the choice of
Edwards as a “thrown gauntlet” from the
Kerry campaign, and vowed to do everything
in the U.S. Chamber’s power to
defeat Kerry-Edwards and “re-elect” the
Bush ticket.
Clearly, then, even pretending to be
against job flight is no longer important
for half the political spectrum, and the
stakes for labor—Hollywood and otherwise—
have indeed never been higher.

- Advertisment -


SISU Cinema Robotics Announces SISU Battery Box for Robotic Camera Equipment

SISU Cinema Robotics has been transforming the landscape of robotic camera equipment by introducing user-friendly cinema technology designed to keep pace with the demands...

Beowulf and 3-D