California IATSE Locals, in conjunction with the Teamsters, Local 399 and the Studio Utility Employees, Local 724 will host a meeting on Saturday at Pickwick Gardens in Burbank to kick off a State-wide job recovery campaign aimed at bringing entertainment jobs back to California. All of the IA locals throughout the state are participating.
Cathy Repola, Western executive director, Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700 and communications chair of an inter-union committee formed to oversee the initiative explained that “there is so much work that goes on behind-the-scenes that isn’t always visible to the membership, even though we engage with them and tell them that we’re doing things. So we thought this would be a really good opportunity to engage them in a new way.”
“California locals have been working together for many years on tax incentive initiatives, but we’ve recently ramped up the involvement,” said Repola. “We want to explain what the leaders of the various IA locals have been doing and also to explain some of the work that has gone on with some of the larger coalitions that include other organizations so the membership has a general understanding of what the process takes, what it looks like and what kind of work is involved. And then the second phase of that is to engage them in a two-way conversation, to seek out volunteers for various components of the campaign and also maybe to identify some leaders amongst them.”
While the group has yet to solidify a detailed strategy, Repola explained that “We’ve had some preliminary discussions about the types of things that we’d like to go after. After the meeting we’ll put together a more comprehensive and detailed plan. It could include anything from letter writing campaigns, lobbying efforts, and any number of other things. It might take all kinds of different forms after Saturday.”
On Wednesday, California State Assemblymembers Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) introduced a bill that would greatly expand and extend California’s tax incentive program. The bill, (AB 1839), was co-authored by 59 additional legislators, including 50 Assemblymembers and nine State Senators.
“We’re very supportive and very hopeful about the prospects for the bill,” said Repola. “It took a lot of work to get this far, but there’s still a lot ahead of us. We’d like to talk a bit about where we go from here and what we’d like to see as an end result.”
But can California afford to compete against aggressive incentives in other states like New York and Georgia?
“I think we can and I think we have to,” said Repola. “It will take a lot of hard work and a lot of partnerships with other organizations, but I think we’re all very hopeful that we’ll be able to move forward.”