The WGA strike will wind up costing the local economy anywhere from $380 million to $2.5 billion, depending on how long it goes on and who’s doing the forecasting.
The dent put on Los Angeles County’s economy by the now 7-week-old strike was the subject of a roughly 75-minute hearing held Wednesday ayem at City Hall by the L.A. City Council’s Housing Community and Economic Development committee.
The sesh in a marble-columned meeting room drew an overflow crowd of WGA supporters, some of whom gave brief testimonials to the fact that most WGA members are middle-class earners who “drive Hondas and Toyotas,” in the words of scribe Betsy Thomas, who addressed the council with her infant son Owen perched on her chest in a baby sling. AMPTP did not send a rep to the meeting; the MPAA issued a statement on the studios’ behalf.
The last WGA strike, which went for five months in 1988, resulted in a $500 million loss at a time when the biz employed about 80,000 locals.
“The pain is growing each day the strike goes on. That concerns us,” Kyser told the committee. He noted that showbiz is the region’s third-largest employer with a workforce of 160,000 that generates $46.8 billion in economic activity annually for L.A. County. Kyser stressed the “multiplier effect” of all that production spending on local businesses ranging from restaurants to hotels to florists, and he emphasized that showbiz is a key driver of tourism in Southern California.
WGA STRIKERS TO PICKET GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS
The WGA plans to picket the Golden Globes ceremonies on Jan. 13, assuming it's still on strike at that point.
The move means that actors are unlikely to cross the picket line, although SAG said only that it was seeking reaction from members who have been nominated before announcing its plans.
A WGA spokesman confirmed the decision to picket, a day after the WGA turned down a request for a waiver from Dick Clark Prods., producer of the Globes. The WGA's also denied a waiver request from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciencs for use of clips and has said it won't OK an interim agreement for writing services so long as it's on strike.
However, due to security precautions, it's possible that someone would attend the ceremony and never see the pickets. Everyone who wants to get within a block of the Beverly Hilton needs a credential. Oscarcast security in years past has mandated that protesters be relegated to an area a few blocks away from the Kodak, and it's quite possible a similar arrangement will occur with picketers at the Globes.
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