WGA tries to prevent LA from issuing production permits

Through LA City Councilmember Eric Garcetti, the WGA attempted to get the LA Board of Public Works to stop issuing permits for production companies doing shoots in LA on projects for which scripts were completed pre-strike. The Board of Public Works rejected the effort to stop the permits this morning.

Furthermore, per the direction of the City Attorney, the Board could not support the WGA’s alternative proposal for a binding requirement that the WGA be allowed to meet with the production crews for 20 minutes. Commissioner Paula Daniels proposed this as a condition of approving the permits, but the City Attorney stated that action was outside the Board’s authority. The City Attorney cited a 1986 case involving Yellow Taxi Cab in which a City Commission had declined to renew a franchise until a strike was settled. Yellow Cab sued the city and the decision for Yellow Cab was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court as an unlawful action, preempted by the NLRA and the city was fined $10 million.

Commissioner Daniels then made the motion as a nonbinding recommendation and the City Attorney reiterated that there would be no ability to enforce it. The nonbinding resolution was adopted 4-0 (one member absent) along with the film permits.

AMPTP took a dim view of the WGA’s maneuver.

“The WGA this morning engaged in a failed effort to stop the City of Los Angeles from issuing four separate permits for film production. Although the WGA was rebuffed by the L.A. Board of Public Works, the WGA’s attempt to derail production on films with completed scripts — and thus to throw hundreds and hundreds more people out of work — shows that the WGA’s organizers are continuing to do whatever they can to make good on their boast to ‘wreak havoc’ on our industry.”

The WGA was represented at the hearing by SEIU’s political director. In a statement, the WGA explained its position thusly:

“The WGA is committed to bringing this strike to a successful conclusion as quickly as possible. The big media companies that walked away from the bargaining table and continue to refuse to negotiate shoulder the responsibility for damaging the entertainment industry and the Los Angeles economy.”

— Dave McNary