Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Big Rally

Click on the image for a bigger, clearer, less narrow view.

There was a large labor turnout in Burbank yesterday.

More than 1,000 entertainment industry workers gathered in Burbank on Saturday, launching a campaign to support an expansion of California's film and TV tax credit program.

The rally, organized by a coalition of entertainment industry unions, drew an unusually large swath of set decorators, prop makers, grips, camera operators and other technicians who filled two conference rooms at the Pickwick Gardens on Riverside Drive.

They were urged by union leaders to volunteer their services and write emails and letters to state lawmakers in support of legislation recently introduced by Assemblymen Raul Bocanegra (D-Los Angeles) and Mike Gatto (D-Pacoima), who were among a parade of state and local politicians who spoke at the meeting.

"This is our time to take up arms," said Thom Davis, president of the Entertainment Union Coalition. "We have the numbers, we have the people, we have the will, and we have the ability to see this through."

Steve Dayan, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 399, which represents location managers, drivers and casting directors, said his members were even prepared to drive a caravan of trucks to Sacramento to get their message across to state lawmakers.

"We are not going to stand by and let other states poach our jobs," Dayan said. "It's wrong and we are going to put a stop to it."

The big room at Pickwick was packed with an overflow crowd Saturday afternoon. (And showing up at that venue takes dedication, because parking is shitty lousy.)

But there was a reason for the turnout. Movie-making in California has taken it in the shorts the past several years as Canada, New York, Georgia and other venues have put generous tax subsidies in place and sucked jobs out of the state at an accelerating rate. Movie veterans are hurting, and the size of the crowd at the legislative kickoff yeterday was a good barometer of how concerned people are.


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