At a press conference today in Manhattan, over 100 primarily African-American and Hispanic, New York City-based film and television studio workers announced that they are launching a class action lawsuit over unpaid wages.
The workers were joined by their attorney James Vagnini of the law firm Valli, Kane, & Vagnini. The plaintiffs have worked on a variety of blockbuster films and hit TV series shot on-location in the city, including American Hustle, Focus, Ted 2, Train Wreck and The Wolf of Wall Street. These local residents worked in production crews for Paramount, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, Sony Pictures and Universal Studios. They are suing for unpaid wages, claiming that they worked around-the-clock on multi-million dollar budget films without being properly paid.
Films shot in New York inject $8.7 billion dollars a year into the city economy and create tens of thousands of jobs. There are several programs available to film and television production companies in the form of tax credits and sales tax exemptions as an incentive for Hollywood studios to film in and around New York City. This suit alleges that while many studios take advantage of the incentives, they do not pay workers the wages they are entitled to.