On September 4, 2007, Screen Actors Guild joined film industry unions, small businesses and the Film & Television Action Committee (FTAC) to file a petition under Section 301(a) of the Trade Act of 1974 with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The petition argues that Canadian film subsidies violate trade law, and that American entertainment industry workers have been significantly harmed by incentives designed to lure media production from the United States to Canada.
The outsourcing of American film and television production has lead to a decline in U.S. film industry jobs, (an estimated 47,000 per year), and the loss of tens of billions of dollars in U.S. revenue. These numbers are so devastating, 35 states have implemented film incentives in order to stop the loss of American film industry production. It is time for the United States Federal Government to step up and join the fight to save American jobs.
The Screen Actors Guild national board of directors voted in October of 2006 to allocate $50,000 towards the effort to file this petition. SAG National Legislative Committee Chair Gretchen Koerner recently stated, “We are committed to exploring every method we can to bring film and television production back to the United States. For decades we have watched as American producers head north to produce movies, television series and commercials. The vast majority of SAG actors do not get hired to work in Canada—so our jobs are lost.”
The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) now has just 31 days remaining to evaluate the 301(a) petition and to determine whether the U.S. government should conduct a formal investigation of the Canadian subsidy programs. Please take a moment to email your U.S. Senator and member of congress to urge them to call the United States Trade Representative and let her know they support the 301(a) filing.
Below you will find links to locate your federal representative and a sample email you can modify to make your feelings known.
Find your Senator:
Find your Congressional representative: http://www.house.gov/writerep/
Sample letter text:
September 21, 2007
The Honorable _____________
United States Senate / United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator / Representative ________________:
As a proud member of Screen Actors Guild, I am writing you in support of the Section 301 Petition against Canada’s subsidies for non-Canadian film and television productions that was filed on September 4, 2007 with the U.S. Trade Representative. As an actor and a union member, I believe it is vital to protect one of our nation’s premier industries, which is suffering the loss of 47,000 jobs a year and billions of dollars in federal revenue due to these subsidies.
Since Canadian subsidies for film and television production have been established, I have watched more and more American production leave the U.S. taking middle class entertainment industry jobs along with them—my jobs. These subsidies are designed specifically to lure U.S. productions out of the country and to replace our workforce with Canadian labor. Jobs that have traditionally been done by American actors and other entertainment industry professionals are lost - co-stars, guest stars, day players, stunt performers, background actors, stand-ins, dancers, singers and puppeteers – we stay at home, and our families, communities, unions, local businesses, and our government suffer.
I urge you to call Susan Schwab, the United States Trade Representative, and ask her to support the 301 Petition. Stop these unfair subsidies, and this unnecessary outsourcing of American jobs. Help us rebuild our industry.
Please Note: Use the same letter for your Senator and Congress member; just revise the heading.