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Open letter to Local 695


Jeff Wexler
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Open Letter on Strike Authorization
from Jeff Wexler
I grew up in a union household. My father, Haskell Wexler, was a proud member of IATSE Local 600 for 68 years. Pop's commitment to union membership was not just shown in his belief in the common good, but also in his readiness to work for it. 
 
Pop devoted himself to many causes but none more vigorously than the 12-On-12-Off campaign he co-founded to bring awareness to the extreme dangers caused by excessive shooting hours. 

The 12-On-12-Off website makes this simple statement. "As human beings, we believe that every personג€™s health, safety and life is worth more than any filmed product we can produce." Two years before he passed, and after years fighting for it, Pop attended the 2015 IATSE quadrennial convention and participated in the adoption of his "Long Hours Resolution." It says "Therefore be it resolved, that efforts be made to require all signatory companies to recognize fatigue as a health and safety hazard."

Enough talk. It's time to act. Six years have gone by and some shows finally have 10-hour turnarounds for some members.  But why not everyone on all shows? And why are our members still working 70 and 80 and even 90-hour weeks? And why are crew members still driving home dead tired, weaving left and right, literally wondering if they're going to make it home in one piece? I've been a Local 695 Sound Mixer for 47 years and have made that terrifying drive home all too many times, as I'm sure you have, too. For more insight into these dangers, please see John Lindley's "The Human Face of Unsafe Hours" at https://vimeo.com/220880990  

It doesn't have to be this way. If they wanted, we all know they could schedule their way out of thisג€¦ and literally save lives. But they ignored our proposals at the bargaining table and refuse to work with us. They tell us it's all just fineג€¦ but it's not.  Even if your particular work experience doesn't put you through outrageously long workdays, don't forget that this hazard poses deadly risk to many thousands of IA members. And this is just one of things that the Strike Authorization Vote is about. The right to have a lunch break, living wages for IA Sisters and Brothers, and the future of your healthcare and pension plan are at stake, too. 

If Pop were here, you can bet he'd be right out front on this. In all 50 States across the country, the IATSE is unified and prepared to fight like never before. We control film and TV production nationwide, and we have the collective strength to make a change. The time to be heard is now. Give the bargaining committee the power to show Disney and WarnerMedia and Amazon and Netflix and the rest of them that we mean business-- but also, that there is a viable path to a fair and decent contract. 

Beginning Friday and ending 9 pm Sunday night, EVERY Local 695 member must VOTE! And EVERY MEMBER must VOTE YES!

In Solidarity,

Jeff Wexler 
Production Sound Mixer 
Local 695 Member for 47 Years
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Great letter, Jeff.  I for sure am voting "yes".  It's comical that "new media" is even still a thing combined with turnaround times that sometimes make you wonder if you should just pitch a tent in the base camp parking lot because "what's the point?" of going home.

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Some solidarity from France. As you might know our fathers fought and obtained the law for a week of a maximum of 40 hours work in 1936 (Front populaire).

The reference is now 35hours since 2000, 8 hours per day, overtime paid above that, maximum allowed 13 hours a day.

Yet we still have to fight to maintain the law, and again we lost 3 persons from the grip dpt and a 4th injured for life due to a car accident on the way back home at the beginning of a feature shoot early this year.

Productions often refer to the « american model » to bargain for more time on set...

We should be fighting for you guys and the rest of the world to get to aligned to a decent and safe work environment law.

Instead we have to keep on fighting for at least the application and respect of a law voted 85 years ago...

 

 

 

 

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I loved the several times I have worked in France, had a great time getting to know the French crews, watching our US producers trying to get everyone working the "American way" (but most of the French crew just ignored all of this). We did have a lot of fun explaining how we had corrupted the whole idea of a work day having "French hours".

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Breaking News  --   Union vote is in, 98% voter participation (has to be an all time record breaker) and the vote was 98 % in favor of authorizing a strike. Now, let's hope everyone comes back to the negotiations and we can have a new contract that truly protects our workers.

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4 hours ago, Olle Sjostrom said:

I'm sorry to be a party pooper, but actually 89% voter turnout. Fantastic nonetheless. It's just my OCD 

 

You're probably right  --  I may have been referring to the turnout of just Local 695 which I think might have been 98%. Either way, still a remarkable turnout! A few percentage points one way or the other is no big deal  ---  let's just hope that it helps get the ball rolling again.

-  from our Local 695:

Here are the final numbers from the strike authorization vote this past weekend:
Do you authorize the IATSE International President to call a strike against the Producers covered by the Basic Agreement?
IATSE Local 695
Yes  98%
No  2%
Eligible voter turnout 90% 
All 13 West Coast Studio Locals
and 23 Studio Mechanics Locals  
Yes  98%
No  2.0%
Eligible voter turnout 90%
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