By: Leo T. Reed
For the past decade, one of our highest priorities has been creating and protecting jobs. It is atough and arduous process and we are committed.
Jobs have been leaving Hollywood for more film-friendly states for more than a decade. We are fighting to keep them in Hollywood, which is still the film capital of the world.
We have been fighting this battle on FOUR fronts:
We are lobbying and rallying for subsidies. Government has a role to play in keeping Hollywood jobs in-state. We have been meeting with our representatives in state government to urge them to extend a tax credit designed to increase production spending in California. Since it was launched in 2009, the program has kept more than 20,000 jobs in the state. For a special report on Local 399’s decades-long fight for film subsidies, see Local 399 Fights to Keep Industry Jobs in California article.
We are working to make Los Angeles more film-friendly. Business agent Ed Duffy serves on the board of Film LA, the permitting body for productions in L.A. city and county. Film LA works to balance the needs of the entertainment industry and neighborhoods affected by location shoots. “We’re aiming to streamline the permit process and make it easier for productions to deal with city and county agencies,” Duffy reported. They are also encouraging the city council to waive permit fees for pilots.
Business Agent Steve Dayan serves on the California Film Commission. Its purpose is to enhance California’s position as the location of choice for motion picture and television production. It has worked to offer state-owned properties free to filmmakers and is available assist local governments in expediting film permits. The Film Commission also administers the incentive program that provides subsidies for shot-in-California productions.
We are policing job sites to make sure other unions or non-union workers are not doing Teamster Local 399 work.This is a continuous issue, requiring continuous monitoring. Members can assist in this effort by reporting any violations they encounter.
We are organizing. We have been aggressively signing more productions, especially those productions that have never been signed before, such as super low-budget productions, reality shows, mobisodes and webisodes. We have also organized new production-affiliated businesses such as Studio Services, Inc. As one of the largest suppliers of transportation equipment to the industry, they were a natural fit for Local 399. Their contract went into effect this past spring. By continually expanding our reach and organizing new productions and production-related companies, we are creating new Teamster jobs all the time. Last month alone we had signed 30 productions. We will continue our efforts.
We know it doesn’t matter how great your contract is if there are not enough jobs. That’s why we are fighting hard—and have been for a long time—on multiple fronts to keep and create Hollywood union jobs in Hollywood. It is a tough uphill battle, and we are on it.