You will notice that blogging today has been light (How about ... non-existent?) There is a reason for this. Kevin Koch and I, along with our faithful counselor Stu Libicki and TAG's negotiating committee, have been in contract talks with animation companies since early this morning, and we have just recently wrapped up ...
We did not, sadly, reach an agreement. We tried and tried but our fine international conglomerates wanted trinkets and baubles we were not prepared to hand over, so the Animation Guild came up short in the giving department.
We had no agreement to keep any of what we talked about confidential, but there's no point in me blathering on about the details here when I'm exhausted and will shortly be headed off to dreamland, but I will say this:
Often there is an elaborate kabuki theater in contract negotiations, with each side coming in with proposals and dollar figures they know will never be achieved, which is followed by much emoting and hand-wringing on the way to a "compromise" and ultimate contract.
We elected not to travel this route. We showed up with a short, snappy list of desired outcomes we believed were reasonable and all parties could live with, rattled them off to the group in the large conference room, and then received their proposals. There were then meetings in "side bar" to try to hash things out (fewer players, more focused negotiating) and then side bars to the side bars.
This went on until after the dinner hour, and finally there was a final big meeting where we were told "yes" on some proposals and "no" on others. (Those others were pretty major items; we had been doing similar things in the little side bar meetings.)
At the end we were still apart. And it's why I love negotiations almost as much as I do organizing. They are seldom life-enhancing walks in the park. Mostly they are long and enervating.)
So we are not done. But I'm still convinced that ... and stop me if you've heard this ... unions and guilds end up with the contracts they have the leverage to get. Sometimes they get less because they misjudge, and sometimes they get more because the Force is with them, but mostly labor organizations end up where they were destined to get in the first place.
Wish I could tell you where that destiny will take us, but I can't. Not yet. Happily, we have a date set for a resumption of talks. I'm sure we'll be letting you know how things develop.
In the meantime, enjoy the balance of the evening. I am off to bed.