Lawmakers press studio chiefs for WGA deal

Mon Feb 4, 2008 3:12am EST
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By Brooks Boliek

WASHINGTON (Hollywood Reporter) - Lawmakers are taking a more active role in the Writers Guild of America strike. A group of California Democrats led by the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee has accused two network chiefs of dragging their feet.

In a letter Friday to Disney president and CEO Robert Iger and Fox president and COO Peter Chernin, the lawmakers urged the executives to pick up the pace of the negotiations, sources said.

Education and Labor chairman Rep. George Miller has been joined by fellow California Democratic Reps. Linda Sanchez and Lynn Woolsey.

"The purpose of our letter is to encourage you to seek a fair, just and swift resolution to this labor dispute," they wrote.

"Given the House Education and Labor Committee's jurisdiction, we are exploring the need for further committee attention to this matter. The impact of this strike on workers, the industry and our economy is simply too pronounced to ignore."

The lawmakers gave no details of impending action, but they could launch an investigation into issues surrounding the strike and its effect on the economies of America's two biggest cities, New York and Los Angeles, as well as its general effect because entertainment products are a valuable economic engine. They cited a study showing the economic impact of the strike to Los Angeles alone as $1.6 billion.

"As the entertainment industry grows and changes, we hope that any new business models will allow for creative talent to grow with the industry," they wrote. "Maintaining the middle-class jobs that your industry provides is among our greatest concerns."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

<p>Supporters and members of the Writers Guild of America picket outside the News Corp building in New York December 4, 2007. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>