Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An open letter to Eric Alba

Dear Eric:
I must confess I was pretty upset and flustered by your comments to Scott Squires seeking VES 2.0 feedback; particularly your remarks that the "IA hasn't impressed me", and that my blog "seems out of touch completely".
Okay. Here's where I'm coming from: I've spent thirty years as a studio attorney. I've spent time skiing with studio presidents, golfing with labor relations executives, and lunching with way too many entertainment attorneys to count. Frankly, I had hoped that background would result in better results in recruiting artists who are directly employed by those studios, and even a receptive atmosphere at those studios. Boy, was I wrong!!! Artists employed at the studios have it really good. They're paid overtime. They're not forced to work as "independent contractors", and they wrangle the work of those working at the independent facilities. And, unfortunately, they're not willing to jeopardize all that by becoming "union agitators". (Even though they'd get coverage in industry pension and health and welfare plans.)
I also expected that workers at the most egregious sweat-shops would be motivated to seek union representation. They're not. They're just struggling to survive. And, finally, I anticipated that those facilities working on network series television would realize that their jobs cannot and will not be outsourced to foreign countries.
I now realize that more people are focused on the half-empty glass of work going overseas, and very few notice that there is a significant volume of work that remains in the United States (for good business reasons). That glass is half full. And will stay that way.
I have, just in case you're wondering, been spending my time creating a website. We will soon begin educating the workforce on what the IA is, what we do, who we are, and why visual effects is an integral part of the bargaining unit of motion picture and television workers who have been represented by us for the past eighty years.
We'll continue to reach out. Eventually, you'll discover that you deserve to be treated like your co-workers on the set. I hope we can meet one day so that I can demonstrate why we are relevant to remedying the state of affairs in a broken business-model, and how union contracts can actually contribute to stability and rational behavior among the facility owners.
So, thanks for the wake-up call.

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