Posted by Tom Sito on April 11, 2000 at 15:02:51:
This thursday April 13th from 11:30 to 1:30 pm Los Angeles area animation
artists as well as the Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild. The Film and
Television Action Committee and a number of other Hollywood groups will
gather infront of the KCET offices for a protest.
Okay, so what's the big deal about picketing PBS?
The Public Broadcasting System based in Virginia is totally depended upon
private donations through affiliates like KCET Los Angeles and WNET New
York. They are dependent also upon tax dollars through the National
Endowment for the Humanities.
Most animation folk are pretty hip, with-it people who believe in what PBS
does. Many of us are PBS subscribers. This year despite all the hoopla in
the press about how Hollywood is booming, Hollywood animators are facing a
shrinking job market and downward pressure on their take-home pay. Records
show we have lost up to 1,000 jobs, that's over one third of all our work in
just 18 months!
So it made us sad when we heard PBS had concluded a big contract to send
their animation work to Canada. It wasn't just a few shows or some
subcontracting, they made a deal for AN ENTIRE BLOCK OF PROGRAMMING. The
whole enchilada. Nelvana, one company they negotiated the deal with, had
built their company
with heavy subsidies and tax credits from the Ontario Provincial Government
and now they have laid off their Canadian artists so they can send their
U.S. work to be done in RED CHINA! The other, Cinar of Montreal, is currently
wracked with accusations of misuse of $10 million of investors funds.
When the Animators Union wrote the chairman of PBS to complain, we were
ignored at first. After we went public in the press we received a prompt
reply from a PBS vice-chairperson defending their decision. They said they
were only spending 4% of their budget, $9 million dollars US in Canadian
Animation. This is in direct conflict with Nelvana's own press releases and
website where they claim the PBS deal is worth $40 million dollars US.
The answer from PBS also claimed that the reason they went to Canada was
because "no comparable US animation firm came to bid or their work" This
statement is hotly denied by several studio owners here in Hollywood. They
claim PBS never bothered to return their calls, they had already
predetermined their deal.
Okay, Disney, Warners, Nick, they're all doing it too. If Rupert Murdoch or
Sumner Redstone sends my job to China there's not too much I can do. But why
should I give donations and pay taxes to an organization to further
undermine my job security? I mean C'MON ALREADY! We gotta put our foot down
This ain't a Union vs. Non-Union issue. WE'RE ALL AFFECTED! COME EVEN IF
YOU'RE NOT A UNION PERSON! If you're in production, if you're a small
employer, if you're a tech, THIS IS YOUR FIGHT TOO! THE MORE PEOPLE WE SHOW,
THE BIGGER A CROWD WE GET THE LOUDER OUR MESSAGE WILL BE HEARD!!
Nobody in the media or Sacramento even knew this issue of work leaving
Hollywood existed until SAG, the DGA and several large IATSE unions put
together a large rally and marched on Sacramento last summer. THEN the news
suddenly took notice.
So if you can please give us one hour to show the media how important this is
to us. Your employer will understand. Heck, it's his career too. One long
lunch hour to
demonstrate to the world that we in LA won't take this screwing around with
our livelyhoods quietly.
PLEASE COME AND JOIN US. This is not about picking on Canadians or who is American and who is not. If you live here, if your family is here, then this
is your fight too. Give us an hour and a half of your time to show the world
we are united and we are pissed!
See you April 13th in front of KCET in Silverlake at Noon.
THURSDAY, APRIL 13
11:30 am to 1:30 pm
4401 W. Sunset Blvd. (at Fountain), Los Angeles
-- Tom Sito,
Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists and Affiliated Optical Electronic and
Local 839 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes
and Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts
of the United States, its Territories and Canada
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