NEWS RELEASE - May 16, 2002
FTAC SCORES VICTORY IN SANTA MONICA CITY COUNCIL
The Screen Actors Guild, Teamsters, and tens of thousands of entertainment workers scored a major victory last night when Santa Monica became the first city in the nation to endorse the Film & Television Committee (FTAC) runaway jobs trade remedy resolution. The resolution, which passed by a unanimous vote of the City Council, puts the city on record endorsing FTAC's campaign to knock out the Canadian film production subsidies through a variety of federal trade remedies. Santa Monica is home to many hundreds, perhaps thousands of film workers and is a regional center for post-production services.
The unanimous vote came in spite of vigorous lobbying against the resolution by the MPAA, AFMA, and the IATSE. Mayor Pro Tem Kevin McKeown, who introduced the resolution, explained his concern for the issue by declaring, “we cannot simply sit idle while jobs go north and the local economy goes south.” Referring to the opposing sides in the hotly contested battle, McKeown concluded, “we must stand in solidarity with our local workers and businesses, not with the boardroom bean-counters who prize profits above people.”
Michael Everett, local resident and FTAC coordinator for the Santa Monica campaign said, "My hat's off to Mayor Pro Tem McKeown and our entire city council for seeing through the self-serving arguments of our opponents, and putting the interests of our community ahead of those of the studios and their allies."
FTAC Chairman Brent Swift said, "The unanimous vote by the council proves our campaign has broad popular appeal." Swift said the campaign would now move on to surrounding communities and then spread across the nation.
Dozens of FTAC supporters filled the council chambers and waited until nearly midnight for the final vote. So many supporters lined up to speak in favor of the resolution that FTAC organizers were forced to cut down their speaker's list so as not to wear down the council members. Among those who spoke in favor of the FTAC resolution was Screen Actors Guild National Treasurer Kent McCord, who implored the council “to support efforts to ask the basic question as to whether or not the Canadian subsidies are consistent with existing trade agreements, and if they aren't, then effective trade remedies need to be explored.” SAG’s National Board voted last summer to support the petition.
COMPLETE TEXT OF THE 5/15/05
SANTA MONICA CITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION:
WHEREAS, the flight of film and television jobs to Canada has caused the removal of production of three quarters of U.S. long form television shows and one quarter of U.S. feature film production from our shores, resulting in economic harm to thousands of small businesses, the destruction of tens of thousands of U.S. film jobs, and the loss to our economy of billions of dollars; and
WHEREAS, a key factor in the flight of film and television jobs to Canada from the U.S. has been the granting of trade distorting film production subsidies by the Canadian national and provincial governments whose sole aim is the removal of jobs from one nation to another; and
WHEREAS, such subsidies constitute an unfair trade practice that is inconsistent with Canada's obligations under international agreements with the United States and other nations; and
WHEREAS, Santa Monica residents engaged in film and television production have suffered substantial economic harm from the Canadian national and provincial film production subsidies; and
WHEREAS, Santa Monica is a regional center for production and post production services which have also suffered substantial economic harm from the Canadian subsidies,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the City of Santa Monica endorses and supports the petition of the Film and Television Action Committee with the U.S. Department of Commerce to secure countervailing duties against the Canadian film production subsidies; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Santa Monica supports the Film and Television Action Committee's filing of a Section 301 petition of the 1930 Tariffs Act requesting the U.S. Trade Representative to investigate the Canadian subsidies, to negotiate with Canada for the removal of all such subsidies, and to bring dispute settlement proceedings against the grant of such subsidies; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the City of Santa Monica, in order to preserve the economic health of our community, requests our legislative representatives to give their support and endorsement of all available trade remedies and relief to preserve the U.S. film industry from unfair trade practices.