My faithful assisting companion Jeffrey Massie and I journeyed to the IATSE West Coast Office this morning to witness the ratification vote tally of the IA Basic Agreement. The results:
Despite the unhappy comments and posts about this contract that was posted on various sites on the web, the Basic Agreement was ratified unanimously by the fifteen IATSE bargaining-unit locals, by percentages ranging from 56% to 97%. The contract ratification is done by a sort of Electoral-College-type system with each local union casting votes based on their delegate counts from the last union convention.The Basic Agreement is the umbrella under which most IA West Coast Studio Locals negotiate their terms and conditions, including health insurance and pension. For historical reasons, TAG isn't in that bargaining unit, but we have traditionally had our health insurance, pension and minimum rate increases modeled on the IA agreement.
As one business representative said:
This was a tough contract to negotiate, and a lot of members had questions about why we ended up where we did. But once we gave them all the information, they came back and voted in large numbers, and voted favorably. To be honest, I was surprised by the size of the positive vote that we got. But they processed the information and made up their minds.
My lesson from all this is: Don't be faked out by the complaints and anger you hear in some places, because that is a very small sample of union members, and is a pretty lousy indicator of people's mindsets.