Editel to shutter; 85 will lose jobs

Post-production house closing next month

About 85 employees at Hollywood post-production house Editel/L.A. will lose their jobs when the company closes its doors next month, according to IATSE officials.

Workers were given the news during a noon meeting Wednesday at Editel’s headquarters on Highland Avenue. Company president Al Walton could not be reached for comment.

Closure comes after the failure of a takeover bid by 4MC, an Alameda-based facility with a satellite unit, a video-operations unit and several re-recording stages.

Editel/L.A., a division of Unitel Video, has been on the block before. In 1995, $6.5 million debts forced Unitel to close its Chicago unit, lay off half its New York workers and seek a buyer for the L.A. outpost, which, like the others, focuses on commercial post-production.

But a restructuring of the L.A. unit brought increased revenues, beginning with a 19% hike in net earnings for the first fiscal quarter of 1996. The uptick evidently didn’t last.

About 50 of Editel’s employees are union members. The Motion Picture Editors Guild, Local 700, represents most of them with others repped by Scenic & Title Artists, Local 816. Each employee will meet privately with management to discuss severance and other issues, said Joseph Aredas, IATSE’s West coast rep. Unitel had set a 5 p.m. Monday deadline for the sale to 4MC to be completed. As the deadline neared, some employees complained that their union reps were blocking the sale by refusing to agree to 4MC’s terms.

A petition signed by 21 of the workers said, “We are being denied a voice in the matter. We feel that a lesser IATSE contract is better than unemployment.”

Aredas said Wednesday that he and Local 700 president Ron Kutak had persuaded the employees the union had not worked against their interests.