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West Hollywood defers ad sanction

City joins Chi, L.A., Gotham in debate over the use of non-union thesps

HOLLYWOOD — The West Hollywood City Council sidestepped the hot-button issue of banning ad shoots on public property with non-union actors early Tuesday by referring the matter to its city attorney for legal review.

The decision came near the end of a lengthy council meeting that started at 7 p.m. Monday. The referral was a compromise to prohibiting production of commercials with non-union actors as long as the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists are on strike against advertisers.

Similar bans have been proposed in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York but have not yet received endorsement, as opponents have argued over the legal rights of municipalities to intervene in labor disputes, contending that such bans only serve to force producers to take production out of the country.

Sending a message

SAG and AFTRA supporters have contended that allowing nonunion shoots on public property represents an endorsement of union-busting.

“We consider the council’s action a victory for our side because the ban sends the message to producers that they’re not wanted,” said Steve Caplan of the Assn. of Independent Commercial Producers.

After attending to other business of the city, the council began hearing arguments after midnight from eight supporters and eight opponents. After its vote to refer the matter to its city attorney, the panel approved a resolution of support for ending the strike, with the statement to be sent to President Clinton.

The work stoppage is in its 15th week, with no new negotiations scheduled.

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