A commenter on Deadline Hollywood Daily asks (in regards to the ratification of the IATSE Basic Agreement):
Hey, how did IATSE 839 vote on this union wide contract?
Oh yeah, 839 DOESN’T EVEN GET TO VOTE IN UNION WIDE ELECTIONS!
How is that even legal? What a joke.
Comment by iatse 839 — March 20, 2009 @ 4:20 pm
And Biz Rep Hulett replies:
Funny thing about TAG 839 not getting a vote inside the IA bargaining unit.
From 1952 until 1985 TAG was one of the IA locals in the bargaining unit, getting to vote on each Basic Agreement as it was negotiated.
But in 1985, kindly old Nick Counter told then IA President Walter Diehl that the AMPTP would no longer be negotiating on behalf of the studios as regards Local 839. In other words, the Alliance was kicking us out of the bargaining unit because we had been overly frisky in 1979 and 1982 with job actions. (In other words, we went on strike.)
Although the IATSE authorized the strikes, when we were pushed out of the bargaining unit, the IA contested the expulsion, but not strenuously. And so, ultimately, we were out. (These things happened while I was a feature animation writer at Disney and serving on the TAG executive board as Vice President. But I didn't participate in the 1985 negotiations.)
From that day to this, we have negotiated contracts all by our loneseome, separate and apart frmo the IA Basic Agreement. Generally, we negotiate the same deal that the IA locals inside the bargaining unit negotiate.
Disadvantages? You're not part of the larger body, and so you have to fend more for yourself. (In recent years, the International has become a more active participant in our local negotiations. They were less involved in the early and middle nineties.)
We have lsee input regarding the Health and Pension benefits that are negotiated under the Basic Agreement, not under our local agreement.
Advantages? Because we're out of the unit, we've been able to negotiate a 401(k) Plan ... in addition to the Motion Picture Health and Pension Benefits that we've had since the fifties.
Happily, members vote on ratification for each and every Local 839 agreement.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Nikki commenter. Since Nikki F. has blocked TAG comments on her blog in the past, I take the liberty of answering you here.