SAG and a union of studio employees unite in cause.

A major Hollywood union local has endorsed plans to fight runaway production through a countervailing tariff against U.S. producers using foreign subsidies.

Studio Utility Employees Local 724 has signed on as a co-petitioner in the campaign, headed by the Film & TV Action Coalition. Countervailing tariffs would require studios and nets who collect foreign production subsidies to pay a tariff of the same amount in order to be cleared to distribute their product in the United States.

“Our membership has suffered significantly since 1998, when Canada aggressively implemented financial subsidies,” said business manager Earl Brendlinger in a letter to FTAC. “Many of our members have lost their homes, cars, medical insurance and their families as the result of much of our film and TV work leaving the state.”

The action comes three weeks after the Screen Actors Guild’s national board backed the campaign, which will seek a formal investigation into unfair trade allegations. To trigger such a move by the Intl. Trade Administration of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce and the U.S. Intl. Trade Commission, petitioners must show that they rep half of the employees in the affected industry or about 135,000 of the 270,000 employees in U.S. showbiz jobs.

SAG and a long list of Hollywood unions and other trade orgs have backed federal legislation for a wage-based tax credit, authored by Sen. Blance Lambert Lincoln (D-Ark.).

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