The commercial actors strike has finally come to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's front door. City Council Speaker Peter Vallone introduced a resolution July 27 calling on the mayor to "prohibit the use of city-owned property and resources in the production of radio and television commercials until the dispute is resolved." The resolution also requests that the Office of Film, Theater & Broadcast provide public access to film permits, thereby allowing SAG/AFTRA members to locate and protest at commercial productions. A spokeswoman for the speaker pointed out that the prohibition on permits should only be enacted if there is a stalemate. She said Speaker Vallone did not put a time limit on what constitutes a stalemate, but she also indicated that it was Mr. Vallone's opinion that advertisers had walked away from the negotiating table. "Management walked out of the talks, didn't they?" the spokeswoman asked. Both sides in the strike dropped out of a session last week after federal mediators concluded that they were so far apart on key issues that there was no point in continuing. John McGuinn, counsel to the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers, wrote a letter to Mr. Vallone declaring the resolution, if enacted, illegal because it asks the city to take sides in a labor dispute. "This [proposal] would eliminate employment of union-represented production company employees such as camerapersons, electricians, carpenters, etc.--the entire entertainment infrastructure--who are currently working every day on shoots," Mr. McGuinn wrote. Mr. Vallone explained: "There is so much emotion and so much energy on both sides of this dispute, I can't help thinking that if all that emotion and all that energy were put into resolving this issue, there would be an immediate settlement, and that's what I want." His spokeswoman indicated that the resolution, if passed by the City Council, would be put before Mayor Giuliani. "Mr. Vallone, will be speaking to the mayor about this" July 27, she said.
Copyright July 2000, Crain Communications Inc.