Labor dispute forces move of awards show


HOLLYWOOD -- A labor dispute at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City left Hollywood producers scrambling to find other venues to stage their annual black-tie awards shows.

The Producers Guild of America, which had scheduled its show at the hotel for Jan. 22, found a last-minute reprieve when the new owners of Culver Studios offered one of its large sound stages for the producers' dinner as well as its historic New York street on the back lot for guests to mingle and drink cocktails before and after the show.

Vance Van Petten, executive director of the 2,000-member Guild, said the hotel workers union had been "pushing us to stand with them and support their efforts in trying to come to a resolution in their labor dispute" with the Century Plaza and other hotels in several cities around the United States.

"We have a very good relationship with the Century Plaza," Van Petten said. "It was not a very easy phone call for us to make at all."

Hotel workers in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington are seeking two-year contracts. Hilda Delgado, spokeswoman for Unite Here, the hotel and restaurant employees union which represents 2,800 members in Los Angeles, said the union considers wages, health care and pensions the major issues.

The Producers Guild has already booked numerous celebrities for its black-tie event, including Will Smith, who will give an award to DreamWorks partner and producer Jeffrey Katzenberg.

A spokeswoman for the Writers Guild of America, which plans to hold its banquet at the Century Plaza on Feb. 19, said it was considering other venues but had not made a final decision.

The Directors Guild of America, which on its Web site states that its awards dinner will be Jan. 29 at the Century Plaza, had no comment yesterday.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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