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NEWS RELEASE - May 8, 2002


For immediate release May 8, 2002

HOLLYWOOD --- In a first for IATSE, Texas Studio Mechanics Local 484 ignored the policy of their International union's support of the Canadian film subsidies and voted to officially endorse the Film & Television Action Committee (FTAC) campaign to pursue federal trade remedies to knock out the Canadian film production subsidies.

Local 484 is headquartered in Austin and represents over 500 film workers throughout the state of Texas. Long an important regional center for film production, Texas has been particularly hard-hit by the exodus of film jobs to Canada as exemplified by such films as "Texas Rangers" which was shot in Alberta. The IATSE International union, which also represents film workers in Canada, has pressured its U.S. locals not to challenge the Canadian subsidies or to pursue remedies provided by law that would seek to remove them. Despite popular support among the rank and file, locals have been warned of possible reprisals from the International should their locals join the FTAC campaign.

The endorsement of the FTAC campaign was passed by a vote of the Local 484 Executive Board despite the advice of Local 484 Business Agent Kenny Rector who abstained from voting and warned that the Board's action could incur reprisals by IATSE International President Tom Short.

"Hats off to Texas," exclaimed an ecstatic Brent Swift, chairman of FTAC. "We knew we'd break the logjam somewhere." "The rank and file members of the IATSE locals want to support us, but nobody wanted to go first."  "Texas has guts and they've led the way for more locals to come on board, where they'll find there's safety in numbers."  Swift said organizing is rapidly moving ahead, particularly in the Southeast and in Hollywood to bring more IATSE locals on board the FTAC campaign

FTAC's trade remedy campaign involves a three-pronged attack against the Canadian film subsidies which includes a countervailing duties petition with the Commerce Department, a Section 301 filing requesting the U.S. Trade Representative to investigate the Canadian subsidies and negotiate with Canada for their removal, and an appeal to the World Trade Organization to declare the Canadian subsidies illegal.

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