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Did anyone else just get this email from IATSE?


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Don't be surprised if the production sounds guys are moved into the grip local !

 

This is how it is in NY. Local 52 oversees many crafts (incl. Sound, Grip, and Elec). As far as I can tell, this actually gives us MORE leverage at the negotiating table. We are a strong local, and we all have one another's backs.

 

 

I wish the would move the mixers over to Local 600.  It would be a sweet deal having a local that actually had balls AND was a national local.  No more low pay for out of town shows. 

 

The fact that many of it's member base would rather hitch their wagons to a larger national organization seems to speak to the strength that 695 has as a local.

From my vantage, 600 is actually a bit over saturated as it is (and thus has a bit less muscle with which to negotiate). They seem to be happy to accept anyone with an open checkbook, thus admitting a glut of low-hanging fruit. One example that comes to mind is the forfeiting of the Prevailing Rate meal penalty. If other locals hadn't retained this, there would be very little financial reason to EVER break a crew!

While I agree that the ASA loopholes should be dealt with, I feel that it would be better addressed by the international itself.

Maybe that is exactly what this is all about.

 

Wyatt Tuzo

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there are a couple basic questions:

How does all this intramural in-fighting figure into our relations with our employers..?

and how does all this expenditure of time, effort, and money benefit the members, if at all ..?

 

S. Harber: " Does that mean it is presently in trusteeship as of today? "

yes

" It didn't go into any detail as to what got things there other than bring up trusteeship. "

and yes.

Jon O: " That letter is purposely ambiguous and leaves 695 members completely in the dark as to what actually happened and why exactly our leadership is getting sacked. "

yes

" I would think that IATSE owes us more of an explanation than that half assed letter "

sorry, but no

 

yep, as John Coffey noted: " It's Deja-Vu all over again. "

 

and for Omaha: " 1) Why are there 13 vice presidents?
2) Why does the URL listed at the top of the page (www.iatse.net) go to a "site under construction" page? It shows that someone isn't paying attention.
"

1) the IATSE is a big business  (with a lot of friends and family to take care of)... and 2) the IATSE has never been much interested in the Internet

 

JonG noted and AFMY agreed: " Probably little time for proof reading.. "

JO's correspondence is not known for being polished...

 

Tom Allen: " Don't be surprised if the production sounds guys are moved into the grip local ! "

actually, I think, as JR, it will be the camera "Guild", 600.

 

and Wyatt: " happy to accept anyone with an open checkbook, " that would include 695.

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I may not be the best person to address the issues raised by recent events at Local 695 as I do not have access to all the pertinent documents and don’t know enough to speak with confidence on all points. But I do have a general sense of the matter that I’ll try to convey here.

 

As you know, projects migrate to the regions offering the best incentives. Some of these have a well-developed supply of qualified crew people. Others are less well provisioned and must bring in some key players from places like L.A. 

 

L.A. technicians working these shows do so under the Area Standards Agreement rather than the Basic Agreement. Wages and other aspects of the ASA are less desirable than the Basic Agreement. 

 

Adding insult to injury, the regional locals tax these workers, typically 3% - 5% of earned wages. To be fair, they impose the same tax on their own members. Their own members, however, pay only a very small assessment to stay active in the local. This might be only $60 per quarter. So their dues are heavy when they work but easy to bear when they are not working. 

 

The L.A. worker, on the other hand, must pay his regular assessments to continue in good standing with Local 695. 

 

Moreover, this assessment requirement is not evenly applied. Members of Local 600 (a nation-wide local) are typically not required to make these double payments. 

 

Jim Osburn has some concerns about this double taxation system. I think he might be OK with a little tax for the privilege of working in the other local's territory but 3% of wages seems a bit high, particularly as these regional locals usually do next-to-nothing to actually police the contract. 

 

The Louisiana local was having difficulty collecting this assessment from a 695 mixer and sought Jim's assistance in enforcing their collection. Jim asked for specifics about the sums they said were owed. He wanted to know the projects worked, the dates, the pay rates, and other particulars. In doing so, he believed that he was acting in the best interests of a member of this local. They claim that he was insufficiently helpful in their collection endeavor. They further claim that he was actively obstructionist. 

 

After some back-and-forth, Jim made sure that the assessment was, indeed, paid but the Louisiana local was so annoyed at what they believed to be foot dragging that they pressed charges against Jim. 

 

The hearing in January was ostensibly to address those charges. Nothing in the documents presented at that hearing (I was there) addressed a receivership or trustee relationship in any way. All of the matters in contention had to do with the process of the payment of dues. 

 

At that hearing, Jim pointed out that the Louisiana local had failed to follow the procedure for collection outlined in the Constitution and By-Laws. If they do not exhaust their available remedies, it's not proper to press blame onto other parties. The Louisiana local, and the International backing their play, were holding a losing hand. 

 

From my perspective (and I've not seen all the relevant communications) it appears that Matt Loeb is pissed because Jim Osburn is not being a team player. That may be true (hard to assess) but this action seems heavy-handed to me and possibly out-and-out illegal. 

 

But, as I said, I don't have all the details and sometimes the devil lurks there. 

 

David

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Well written Tom and David, and as factually correct as everything I've heard to date.

 

When I mentioned the apathy in the union, it's a fact. Participation has been terrible for years. I'm glad that there are members here who want and care to be informed, but most never even go to the union meetings anymore.

 

Trusteeships like Tom described go way back to the era when my dad, Jack Coffey, ran Local 695. He was thrown out of office and our local was put in trusteeship at least four times. He would then take it to court to get it lifted, but those were different times and it took massive effort. I know Jim will fight the good fight, but these guys play rough. The last trusteeship was a drawn out mess. Jim's position sounds strong but that rarely has anything to do with it.

 

I recently had my own run in with the IA ramming a constitutional amendment down our throats that most of our members are not aware of, which effectively made it impossible for old dogs like me to be allowed to run for election for Business Agent of Local 695 anymore as we slow down. I took a reasonable moderate angle to try and pass an exemption at a floor fight at Boston IA convention in July and got my ass kicked, almost literally. (I might have had help from the Department of Labor, but that's another story.)  Good luck to us.

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Do you think more people would go to meetings if they worked shorter hours?

I think more people would go to meetings if they actually supplied valuable information, versus forcing members to listen to numerous, interminable stories of "the old days". I think more people would attend if there was any indication that Jim gives a shit about members other than the most "experienced" mixers. I think more people would attend if their voices were heard and considered without the glaring stares of disapproval toward anyone who speaks up about silly things like working conditions. I think JO is a dinosaur, trying to fix delicate things with giant, caveman clubs, when the right tool is a surgical laser. He isn't qualified to play in the modern arena, and he's too pigheaded to step down and let someone else take over and care for their members over their own self-interests.

I'll give him credit for standing up to Loeb, but I'd imagine it was done with a heavy fist and a loud mouth. That just isn't an effective way in this day and age.

Oh, and how many parking spaces are there at Local 44?

Robert

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I go to union meetings but thinking about not going anymore.Very little discussion about "real" stuff like the whole new media mess and that stupid contract that both the international and our local promoted it as a good thing.The meetings are so boring with amateur legalese read aloud about BS.I understand there has to be a little of this but it takes up the whole meeting.

 

                                                                                                                              J.D.

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I think more people would go to meetings if they actually supplied valuable information, versus forcing members to listen to numerous, interminable stories of "the old days". I think more people would attend if there was any indication that Jim gives a shit about members other than the most "experienced" mixers. I think more people would attend if their voices were heard and considered without the glaring stares of disapproval toward anyone who speaks up about silly things like working conditions. I think JO is a dinosaur, trying to fix delicate things with giant, caveman clubs, when the right tool is a surgical laser. He isn't qualified to play in the modern arena, and he's too pigheaded to step down and let someone else take over and care for their members over their own self-interests.

I'll give him credit for standing up to Loeb, but I'd imagine it was done with a heavy fist and a loud mouth. That just isn't an effective way in this day and age.

Oh, and how many parking spaces are there at Local 44?

Robert

 

 

 

"I go to union meetings but thinking about not going anymore.Very little discussion about "real" stuff like the whole new media mess and that stupid contract that both the international and our local promoted it as a good thing.The meetings are so boring with amateur legalese read aloud about BS.I understand there has to be a little of this but it takes up the whole meeting."

 

                                                                                                                              J.D.

Very Close to my experiences w/ said meetings.

I dont really feel a part of anything when I attend.

its basically pay your dues and shutup.

I'm not really motivated to go anymore either.

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I would like to add slightly to my earlier post.

 

All the information is essentially right but it needs a small correction and a clarification.

 

I understand that the 695 worker who didn't promptly pay the working assessment was a video technician, not a sound mixer.

 

And, the dues relationship with members working outside their regular jurisdiction needs a clarification. A worker hired in Los Angeles to travel to another city to work a project would work under the Basic Agreement and be paid just as if he/she were working in the home area. The double taxation situation only arises if a worker travels to another area to be eligible to work a project shooting there.

 

So, yes, there is an element of a worker needing to pay to work in someone else's sandbox. But this isn't a situation the worker enters freely in the normal sense. A worker traveling to achieve eligibility is chasing the work because it is running away. It's an economic necessity arising from a changing production landscape.

 

David

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David: " A worker traveling to achieve eligibility is chasing the work because it is running away. It's an economic necessity arising from a changing production landscape. "

this is a delicate and controversial topic, and is even a factor in another new thread about someone considering chasing jobs...

there are multiple sides to this segment of the discussion, but it sure makes me think about the advantages of being part of IATSE 600, a national local...

Edited by studiomprd
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David: " A worker traveling to achieve eligibility is chasing the work because it is running away. It's an economic necessity arising from a changing production landscape. "

this is a delicate and controversial topic, and is even a factor in another new thread about someone considering chasing jobs...

there are multiple sides to this segment of the discussion, but it sure makes me think about the advantages of being part of 600...

 

True dat!

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As technology changes so do jobs, necessary qualifications, and techniques.  

 

Unions have typically tried to fight these changes.

 

In order for progress to be made, changes need to be made.  Fighting changing and evolving jobs and classifications is and will always be a losing battle.

 

Change and evolution are good.

 

Thats all I have to say.

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Every time I lament that union participation is low, I hear the same reasons for not participating.

 

A union is a very small group and anyone who does not like something can easily put their voice in to be heard. Especially if you show up at a meeting with a small group of people who feel the way you do. You own your union, but since you never saw it any other way, I can't blame anyone for thinking this is the way it is, when it can easily be changed to more democratic ways. Upon a motion from the floor, meeting procedures can be requested to be changed. For example: time limits can be enforced on long winded speakers, hand outs must be given out in lieu of allowing long papers to be mundanely read to members and new business can be requested to be put before old business.

 

My point that everyone forgets is that most unions were formed through blood in the streets. Strikes were the only way to get greedy producers to negotiate against the equalizing power of many. Forgotten sacrifices were made so that we even  have a union today. The history is sadly lost. No one has any idea what it took for us to be where we are today. Has anyone even heard of what happened on the street in front of Warner Bros? Check these out - http://patriciahysell.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/black-friday/

or click on  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Black_Friday

 

I always felt that everyone should dedicate some time for their union, not all their time. It doesn't mean sitting on your hands and shaking your head at what you don't like. Change it. Robert Sharman and others speak out and you can too.  Get your two cents in. I was raised at a time when every union meeting was standing room only. They only happen four times a year so it's not very hard to attend a  couple and socialize. It was once loud and chaotic at times, but at the end of the day we were brothers and sisters united. Non-participation only allows bad things to happen. There is no one to blame but ourselves....

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My point that everyone forgets is that most unions were formed through blood in the streets. Strikes were the only way to get greedy producers to negotiate against the equalizing power of many. Forgotten sacrifices were made so that we even  have a union today. The history is sadly lost. No one has any idea what it took for us to be where we are today. Has anyone even heard of what happened on the street in front of Warner Bros? Check these out - http://patriciahysell.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/black-friday/

or click on  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Black_Friday

 

Hi John,

 

Thank you for posting this. I for one, was not was not aware of such history. Hopefully we can learn from our past, and help shape the future.

 

Cheers,

J.

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My point that everyone forgets is that most unions were formed through blood in the streets. Strikes were the only way to get greedy producers to negotiate against the equalizing power of many. Forgotten sacrifices were made so that we even  have a union today. The history is sadly lost. No one has any idea what it took for us to be where we are today. Has anyone even heard of what happened on the street in front of Warner Bros? 

 

That's a pretty amazing story, and there are pictures of that incident:

 

blackfriday_large.jpg

 

windowslivewritermorefromlifethebattleof

 

csu-525x420.jpg

 

I wanna do a montage of all these images while John Lennon sings "power to the people, right on!"

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I hear that Jim and Elizabeth packed up their personal things and left the office. A couple of lap dog office types were appointed in the interim.

Next thing to happen is that our $ 2.2 Million cash (your dues) will be transferred to the international "for safekeeping"

If the E board who was largely informed of Jim's solo engagement had the members interest at heart they would not have such a large balance. They could have distributed $ 1500 or to each member and empowered the members in a real way. We are a membership organization on paper. If the members liked what was going on they would fund the local, but no Jim does not trust the members.

The reality is it's a dogfight in a secret society: power-struggles that benefit only the bureaucrats.

The IATSE will punish 695 by giving away another chunk of members.

The video folk hope they will end up somewhere where they are represented, they were always the stepchild anyway.

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Wolf, you and I are good friends going back very far and I always enjoy talking with you but when we hit the internet, well, it's complicated.  You mean the Local should sell the building they use for an office?  The members could do that if they decided that renting is better than owning.  Which it's not.  You're the only person who has ever even suggested it but fortunately, you're not a member of this or any other IA local so you're voice in the matter has no value and most people realize that your basis for informed commentary on the matter is very tiny.

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Hey Laurence:

 

Glad to see you here. Rumors abound. I have been staying in unofficial touch, but most members are in the dark. We have not received any more communications. If you are still in the office, I know you can only say so much for fear of stepping in it.  What is the latest news you can say? Please keep us informed. This is the time for as much clarity as possible. Thanks.

 

1. What caused the rift?

2;. Is Jim now out or staying put?

3. How about the office staff, including yourself?

4. What's the long term plan for IA? To keep trustees in office or eventually call for another election?

5. Will our money be "reallocated" at all?

6. Any feeling about the IA taking the opportunity to make other changes to local

 

ps. I understand why you said that to Wolf. However, while no one gets along with Wolf worse than me, he is still a 695 retiree on honorary withdrawal. Since the IA ruling pushing retirees out to pasture, I'm pretty sensitive to retire bashing. Even though his baiting comments are very aggravating to me and you, it's one voice of a union brother who is entitled to his opinions. While I am barely still a dues paying member, I would consider myself a member for life after I retire my card.

Again, thanks for posting here Laurence.

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