Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Franconomics in Spokane

Now that Che Guevara's only All American fan is out of the NCAA basketball tournament, maybe he can commiserate with his economically illiterate fellow townsmen who are out of luck:

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- A moviemaking effort with Samuel Jackson and 50 Cent has left for Vancouver, British Columbia, because of a union pay dispute involving crew members.

The making of "Home of the Brave" moved north Monday following a strike by International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Moving Picture Technicians Local 488.

Three and a half days of filming had been completed out of a shoot that was supposed to last for a month, said Rich Cowan of North by Northwest, a local company that provided production services for Hollywood director Irwin Winkler and a consortium of producers.

Cowan said the project employed both union and nonunion crew members, some local and others from Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Ore., and elsewhere. Key production workers refused to cross picket lines, and negotiations with producers over the weekend were unsuccessful.

He estimated the city would lose 100 good-paying jobs and millions of dollars.

"If we ever signed a deal, it could take us out of the film business," Cowan said. "Right now we're evaluating the future of making motion pictures in Spokane."

....Andy Barden, a nonunion set electrician from Spokane, said many crew members opposed a strike.

"The (union) used the crew as pawns to force the shoot to shut down and go union," Barden said.

Cowan said the union was demanding compensation at New York and Los Angeles rates, which
"would have made a huge increase in our costs, so the financiers decided to move the production to Vancouver."

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