Jeff Wexler

May Day and the 8 Hour Workday

23 posts in this topic

#: 1   Posted

MayDay.jpg

Background to May Day: In 1884, unions declared that eight hours would constitute a legal day’s work from and after May 1, 1886. When workers went on strike at a factory in Chicago on May 3, 1886, police fired into the peacefully assembled crowd, killing four and wounding many others. The workers movement called for a mass rally the next day in Haymarket Square to protest this brutality. The rally proceeded peacefully until the end when 180 police officers entered the square and ordered the crowd to disperse. At that point, someone threw a bomb, killing one police officer and wounding 70 others. The police responded by firing into the crowd, killing one and injuring many others.

Eight of the city’s most active unionists were charged with conspiracy to commit murder even though only one even present at the meeting was on the speakers’ platform. All eight were found guilty and sentenced to death, despite a lack of evidence connecting them to the person who threw the bomb. Four were hanged on November 11, 1887, Louis Lingg committed suicide in prison, and the remaining three were finally pardoned in 1893. Lucy Parsons, the widow of Albert Parsons, traveled the world urging workers to celebrate May Day and to remember the events of Haymarket and the subsequent government-sponsored murder of those fighting for the rights of all workers.

Over time, May Day grew to become an important day for organising and unifying the international struggle of workers and their allies. Viva May Day!

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#: 2   Posted

I'm with you comrade:

Karl_Marx.jpg

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#: 4   Posted

The Pendulum swings. There is a better day coming with/for collective bargaining.  E Pluribus Unum. 

CrewC

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#: 5   Posted (edited)

Jeff,

Thank you for reinforcing this somber memory of times seemingly long past, the "Gilded Age"  in which so-called leaders threw earnest pioneers and immigrants under the proverbial train on behalf of those who profited so much from the industry which depended on those same workers to keep the wheels turning.  It's a moment when some can remember your father's insightful walk through the same neighborhoods of Chicago 82 years after the Haymarket "riot", with a 35mm camera filming another "riot" for which a number of people were later tried in court, and for equally inappropriate "crimes" that could have resulted in very long jail sentences or worse.  One of the questions Haskell Wexler raised--and he was the director and auteur of that film, in addition to his camerawork--one of the questions the audience came away from theaters talking about was, if you're a journalist or a photographer, or a film maker, does that give you a pass on the obligation to come to the aid of someone who is in imminent danger?  In these times, being a film maker and a journalist is statistically more dangerous than it has ever been.  Many of us do take some courage from his example, and honor him for his work as one of the early mentors of our generation (among many) who articulated by what he chose to do and how he went about it,  that special duty that we each have to come to grips with in our daily lives.   Viva May Day indeed.

Edited by phenix
Mistake

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#: 6   Posted

Thank you for your kind words and the remembrances of not only the history but my father's life long commitment to social and political activism. Your insightful comment about the role of the journalist, whether it is expressed by words or images, has never been more important than it is today in these times. 

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#: 7   Posted

On 5/1/2017 at 9:50 AM, daniel said:

I'm with you comrade:

Karl_Marx.jpg

Fuck Communism.  It has never worked and never will.  You can throw socialism into that stinking shithole along with it.

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#: 8   Posted

Wow. Talk about misreading a topic... How does the union contract you work under, that has given you and your family so much relative to most in our country, fit into your world view?  

I'm no commie lover like your boy "WhatHizNutz", but this topic is about labor history in the U S.  

Just out of curiosity, are you a self hating worker bee? Do you think you should be the Queen Bee?

Remember, out of many, one.

CrewC

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#: 9   Posted

I was referencing the guy that posted a pic of Karl Marx and said "I'm with you comrade".

Talk about misreading a post.

BTW, who's "Whatshisnutz"??

 

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12,14,16 hr days...
If ever there was a reason to strike, imo, this would be it.

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On 2017-5-6 at 6:18 AM, Mirror said:

I was referencing the guy that posted a pic of Karl Marx and said "I'm with you comrade".

Talk about misreading a post.

BTW, who's "Whatshisnutz"??

 

I hope you enjoyed your outrage as much as I did.

Kind Regards,

'commie lover like your boy "WhatHizNutz"'

(or, as you vulgar and hypocritical enquiry suggests you have as much anxiety about the identities of others as you clearly have about your own: Daniel Rosen - thanks for asking ).

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Ya lost me on that one Daniel. Was your response to mirror? Me? Both?   Cheers.

CrewC

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I was talking about this to a fellow technician recently.

On the series "Hercules" we worked 12 hour days (inc lunch) plus travel and overtime

5 days a week

On our "labour day" we were give a a paid day off!!

I asked the producer why ??

"because on that day New Zealand celebrates the 8 hour day"

Lol!

mike

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9 hours ago, old school said:

Ya lost me on that one Daniel. Was your response to mirror? Me? Both?   Cheers.

CrewC

The reply was for mirror (as I think is clear) but 'commie lover like your boy' I thought worth a mention as it was unnecessarily judgmental, unless your fantasy is mirror is my dad (which would be even worse :- ).

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Thanks Jeff, for the historical look at the inception of May Day.

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11 hours ago, daniel said:

The reply was for mirror (as I think is clear) but 'commie lover like your boy' I thought worth a mention as it was unnecessarily judgmental, unless your fantasy is mirror is my dad (which would be even worse :- ).

 

11 hours ago, daniel said:

The reply was for mirror (as I think is clear) but 'commie lover like your boy' I thought worth a mention as it was unnecessarily judgmental, unless your fantasy is mirror is my dad (which would be even worse :- ).

Copy that.  

I am judgmental when it comes to mirror and that's a fact. Unnecessary? Not for me. That was my feeling and reaction to his post. I try to be civil but I also don't censor myself if I feel something.  Also I know more about him than the others here @jwsound as he has worked in Hollywood for almost as long as I have. ;~) Right? Wrong?....   Just me.

CrewC

Also my fantasies have no components of you or he. Way more pedestrian than that.

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7 hours ago, old school said:

 

Copy that.  

I am judgmental when it comes to mirror and that's a fact. Unnecessary? Not for me. That was my feeling and reaction to his post. I try to be civil but I also don't censor myself if I feel something.  Also I know more about him than the others here @jwsound as he has worked in Hollywood for almost as long as I have. ;~) Right? Wrong?....   Just me.

CrewC

Also my fantasies have no components of you or he. Way more pedestrian than that.

Lol, I meant you were being judgemental of me(!). As in; calling me a "commie lover" I can accept (even if this is not how would describe myself) but "your boy" in relation to mirror - I'm not 'his' or a 'boy' and the 2 together is worse than the sum of the parts. I think the connotations of the word 'boy' are well known but I've probably laboured the point (excuse the pun). Who'd have thought posting a picture of a 19th century philosopher and economist would cause so much fun.

Anyway, venturing back on to the original subject, I think the Australians are due a mention in the thread:

"The happy idea of using a proletarian holiday celebration as a means to attain the eight-hour day was first born in Australia. The workers there decided in 1856 to organize a day of complete stoppage together with meetings and entertainment as a demonstration in favor of the eight-hour day."

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/05/may-day-rosa-luxemburg-haymarket/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_labour_movement

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight-hour_day

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If nothing else, these post show the limitations in this form of communication... Or my skills as a writer and reader. Interesting Australian Labor history. Thanks. No reason not to have an 8-8-8 day IMO.

CrewC

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30 minutes ago, old school said:

If nothing else, these post show the limitations in this form of communication... Or my skills as a writer and reader. 

I'd say your skills at reading and writing are solid, Crew. But yes, where is that thread? We should have one. I could write a thesis on inference, implication, miscommunication, misread sarcasm and facetiousness, the subtleties and grey lines between proper constructive criticism, insults, their given responses, posturing this way and that, a host of other literary idiosyncrasies associated with written communication and the net. Not to mention: misunderstandings between different cultures' idioms and trendy talk. Oh..spelling, punctuation and grammar. 

And back to the subject: on my last job, being audio, I had a later call time. I thought it meant I'd have a 10 hour day..but not so. The day for me, was still 12 hours. So that means the others had something like a 14 hour day. Is this simply because gear and locations are being squeezed for every minute they can get, since gear/locations are rented/hired by the day? Why is this?

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2 minutes ago, Rachel Cameron said:

I'd say your skills at reading and writing are solid, Crew. But yes, where is that thread? We should have one. I could write a thesis on inference, implication, miscommunication, misread sarcasm and facetiousness, the subtleties and grey lines between proper constructive criticism, insults, their given responses, posturing this way and that, a host of other literary idiosyncrasies associated with written communication and the net. Not to mention: misunderstandings between different cultures' idioms and trendy talk. Oh..spelling, punctuation and grammar. 

And back to the subject: on my last job, being audio, I had a later call time. I thought it meant I'd have a 10 hour day..but not so. The day for me, was still 12 hours. So that means the others had something like a 14 hour day. Is this simply because gear and locations are being squeezed for every minute they can get, since gear/locations are rented/hired by the day? Why is this?

+1.

Re hours: I suspect a lot of the reason we are still asked to work long hours in many of the sectors which employ us is because it is still dominated by a particular type of machismo which prefers the 'work hard - play hard' culture and is just not that interested in family life, Ie, "you're in the wrong business mate". It is also very hard for men especially (but increasingly women) to not define themselves by the work they do so saying 'no' is very hard. Some of it is driven by ambition and competition eg. If you've borrowed and invested heavily in kit then paying it off becomes more of a priority and overtime is less a deterrent to the employer and more an incentive to the worker to earn more in shorter time frame. So maybe you get to retire sooner to the big house in the country but when the kids are all grown up, they are all grown up - and in my experience this happens in the blink of an eye. As an aside, I wouldn't feel so conflicted about long trips away if it were possible for the family to travel with. I know this sounds naive, but I was lucky enough as a kid to go on some of my Dad's (research) work trips and they were amazing experiences for me. In 20 years, only 1 project offered to put family up in a self catering apartment and it was pretty good fun.

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I think 8-8-8 would be viable for 90% of jobs in the USA and Canada. Not knowledgeable enough about Europe, Australia, and New Zeland or Japan to venture a guess.  I think the "Film" biz is a weird beast and the best we could achieve would be 10 hour days. 12 on/ 12 off would be a good start to getting there. When I started in Film, features were 10 hour days and we got paid 12 hours daily. Biggest difference between now and then I believe is the people in charge and on the crew knew how to make them from top to bottom. They told original stories most of the time and respected the audience to go into many directions and genres. Now the bean counter/MBA's who run the show  have no idea what to do other than chase last years hits and misses and retreads of shitty TV shows no one want to see. More people working more hours on inflated budgets with little leeway in time to make a unique quality product. Seems like a self inflicted death spiral to me. I opted out of films to do commercials in LA in 87. To be a part of my family and while I didn't to to USC film to work on commercials, I don't regret the life I've led. The time/money ratio was the best I could do. Hopefully the next gen can do better but I don't think so as we collectively never say no, we undercut each other, and work one man when two would be safer/healthier/more rewarding/ and a better product. I hope I'm wrong about the future.

CrewC

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19 hours ago, old school said:

I think 8-8-8 would be viable for 90% of jobs in the USA and Canada. Not knowledgeable enough about Europe, Australia, and New Zeland or Japan to venture a guess.  I think the "Film" biz is a weird beast and the best we could achieve would be 10 hour days. 12 on/ 12 off would be a good start to getting there. When I started in Film, features were 10 hour days and we got paid 12 hours daily. Biggest difference between now and then I believe is the people in charge and on the crew knew how to make them from top to bottom. They told original stories most of the time and respected the audience to go into many directions and genres. Now the bean counter/MBA's who run the show  have no idea what to do other than chase last years hits and misses and retreads of shitty TV shows no one want to see. More people working more hours on inflated budgets with little leeway in time to make a unique quality product. Seems like a self inflicted death spiral to me. I opted out of films to do commercials in LA in 87. To be a part of my family and while I didn't to to USC film to work on commercials, I don't regret the life I've led. The time/money ratio was the best I could do. Hopefully the next gen can do better but I don't think so as we collectively never say no, we undercut each other, and work one man when two would be safer/healthier/more rewarding/ and a better product. I hope I'm wrong about the future.

CrewC

 

We should all be pushing for better standards with every new deal we make with new clients.

 Saying no to bad deals only has led me to jobs where I have met people and been a part of projects I would have never imagined to have under my belt in life.

….no one knows I'm substitute teaching or a union carpentry apprentice when I say no to their bad deals.

We all have the ability to work hard and shape our future to be the better version of what we want.   I do not want to be 40/50 years old surrounding myself with people who pay / treat me like crap.    

In NYC i only pass my jobs onto my fellow younger friends only if they agree with this mentality.

Keep being a kickass voice of the labor movement CrewC!

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+1.
Re hours: I suspect a lot of the reason we are still asked to work long hours in many of the sectors which employ us is because it is still dominated by a particular type of machismo which prefers the 'work hard - play hard' culture and is just not that interested in family life, Ie, "you're in the wrong business mate". It is also very hard for men especially (but increasingly women) to not define themselves by the work they do so saying 'no' is very hard. Some of it is driven by ambition and competition eg. If you've borrowed and invested heavily in kit then paying it off becomes more of a priority and overtime is less a deterrent to the employer and more an incentive to the worker to earn more in shorter time frame. So maybe you get to retire sooner to the big house in the country but when the kids are all grown up, they are all grown up - and in my experience this happens in the blink of an eye. As an aside, I wouldn't feel so conflicted about long trips away if it were possible for the family to travel with. I know this sounds naive, but I was lucky enough as a kid to go on some of my Dad's (research) work trips and they were amazing experiences for me. In 20 years, only 1 project offered to put family up in a self catering apartment and it was pretty good fun.


Wow Daniel. +1 on you for this.

Id be happy to be paid less for an 8 hr day.
And would be more that happy to join an international guild of likeminded film and television professionals whom would like to continue creating. With the paradigm of 8-8-8.

12+ hr days, most days a week, is a shit sandwich.
Do that for long enough the list of life things that type of schedule sabotages gets long.
Change your schedule change your life.

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