Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Yesterday, it was my birthday......

Hung one more year on the line....." words from a Paul Simon song. Sang them all day yesterday. It seems, since most guild agreements expire on June 30, I spent most of my birthdays during my career as a studio attorney at the AMPTP in guild and union negotiations... So, there I was yesterday, reading blogs from VFX artists, and thinking about my efforts to encourage those artists to join together in an effort to obtain the benefits of union representation in their working lives. It seems clear to me that, with the proliferation of blogsites, and VES 2 point 0, and VFX foundation, and DD initial public offering; that there is obviously tremendous interest in union representation. But, not a lot of understanding of the process.
Negotiations were once described as a process in which two sides say NO to each other, until they reach agreement. Like the NFL is doing right now.
What will a Union bring to VFX? Frankly, we can't say for sure. All we know is that we'll sit down with the studios and the facility owners, and talk. They'll tell us about foreign competition, tax incentive programs, H1-B visas, cheap labor in Mumbai, soaring budgets, out-of-control post production schedules. We'll tell them about workers whose wives and children desperately need medical care. Older workers who don't have any pension to fall back on. Facilities extorting 1099 status from workers who are cheated out of overtime pay. Facilities going bankrupt and cheating their employees out of critical paychecks. And then, we'll work something out. We always do. So, keep blogging. Keep talking. We'll find a way to get to the table, with your support. Give us a call if you have any questions or suggestions. Let's hang together, for a change!!
vfx@iatse-intl.org. I'm here for you.

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