Saturday, April 15, 2006

Six Years Ago NOW -- the KCET picket

In the Spring of 2000, Local 839 organized a picket of PBS -- specifically, Channel 28 KCET in Hollywood, California... It turned out to be a HUGE demonstration, with lots of signs and 350 picketers. The issue -- which isn't really addressed in the article above -- was American taxpayers financing run-away production. PBS, funded by you and me, was spending heavy coin for animation done in Canada. Now, I've got nothing against Canada. The country is bright, friendly, forward-looking, and it doesn't fight a lot of wars of preemption like some other democracies I know. But I don't like paying tax money to have cartoon work sent there. If Disney or Warners or Nickelodeon want to spend corporate money to subcontract beyond our borders, that's one thing. But using tax dollars to help kill local jobs? Naah, I don't think so. At any rate, the guild spent a lot of time, effort and money putting the picket party together, and we got a monster turnout from just about every signator studio. Animators, background artists, board artists, I mean like everybody. We engaged a high-powered public relations agency to get the whole demo on t.v., radio, and into newspapers. I did an interview on KCET the night before the picket; Sito did a lot of radio while it was going on. We got lots of press covering the event, and we were elated. Trouble was, Justice for Janitors had a violent demonstration at Los Angeles International Airport the same day, and the media was all over that extravaganza like a heavy woolen blanket. So none of the radio or television standups we did that day got on the air. But I memorialize the day here because, by God, it was uplifting and exhilerating and I was damn glad we did it.


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