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Jeff Wexler

Union contract accepted

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The general membership of the I.A.T.S.E. has voted to accept the new contract. I am posting the article from the L.A. Times here for those who do not have access to the news. The article is not entirely accurate regarding the objections raised by the locals to the proposed contract, but the statements attributed to the International President, Tom Short, are truly astounding.

Hollywood Craft Workers OK Deal

By Richard Verrier, Times Staff Writer

March 10, 2006

Hollywood's craft workers overwhelmingly approved a new three-year contract Thursday that calls for modest wage and benefit increases.

More than two-thirds of voting members endorsed the contract, which covers 30,000 workers including electricians, sound editors and grips under the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. ?Nonetheless, two locals representing prop makers, set decorators and camera operators voted against the contract, which takes effect Aug. 1. But they still must accept the contract because the majority voted for it.

Camera operators were incensed about a provision in the contract that would allow directors of photography to do their jobs on film and television shows, fearing the change would threaten their livelihoods. "It's a dark day for the camera operators," said David Frederick, president of the Society of Camera Operators.

But in a statement, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees President Thomas Short called the contract the "envy of the industry" and took a veiled swipe at the dissident unions. "We have a couple of local unions that have too many chronically unemployed or retired officers and officers with issues that have kept them from working in the industry," Short said. "We don't want to end up emulating the Writers Guild of America, West and the Screen Actors Guild."

Short was referring to the long-standing criticisms that some officials in those guilds are out of touch with members because they rarely work. SAG and WGA declined to respond directly to Short's criticism.

Gary Dunham, president of International Cinematographers, Local 600, said he was baffled by Short's statement. "The officers of our guild have tons and tons of experience," he said. "If this is some sort of personal attack against the unions that did not vote for ratification — that is uncalled for."

The contract includes a wage increase of 75 cents an hour in the first year and a 25 cents an hour pension increase. Critics said the wage increases were offset by inflation and noted that union members would have to make higher co-payments on doctor visits.

Also on Thursday, the guild representing Hollywood's animation workers reached a similar three-year agreement with producers.

- Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2006

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Guest tourtelot

Excuse my french but Tom Short is a fucking menace to organized labor and should be voted out of office as soon as possible.  Talk about "being out of touch!."

D.

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Excuse my french but Tom Short is a fucking menace to organized labor and should be voted out of office as soon as possible.  Talk about "being out of touch!."

D.

I agree with you completely but unfortunately like so many people in power, most of their efforts are made to STAY in power and it is very hard to de-throne a despot. Tom Short knows his domain is threatened and not by management but rather by grass roots movements of real people, the very people he is supposed to be representing. The one quote in the L.A. Times from Tom Short, after declaring that the new contract is the "envy of the industry" gives a very clear insight into what his real agenda has been all along: "We have a couple of local unions that have too many chronically unemployed or retired officers and officers with issues that have kept them from working in the industry...  we don't want to end up emulating the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild." This is a thoroughly despicable statement and riddled with untruths and defemation. The statements speaks directly to my father, a universally well respected person around the world who is neither chronically unemployed OR retired, but rather continues to fight for the rights of film workers everywhere, demanding as well that the I.A. must become a labor union or we will not continue to fill Tom Short's pockets with the per capita monies he receives year after year, bad contract after bad contract.

Regards,  Jeff Wexler

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All of that screaming & yelling for 75

cents an hour? That's a Mc Donalds or Wal Mart type raise.

Eric

I believe someone ran the numbers on these increases and if you factor in inflation and the cost of living in Los Angeles, it amounts to a 5% CUT in pay over the life of the contract.

-  JW

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