So the ballots have been counted, and I have been returned for another three years of Business Repping ...
I want to thank those who voted for me, also those who voted against me (Because hey. You participated in the process, and that's important.)
So let me cut, as they say, to the climax. The next thirty-six months are going to be busy ones. The IA will have to figure out its strategy for negotiating the next Basic Agreement. Though we're not part of the IA bargaining unit, we have considerable skin in the game because we participate in the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans. I will be sitting in on those negotiations.
And of course, we'll have our own set of negotiations for the 839 local agreement. Before we drive over to the AMPTP to sit at the big long conference table, I plan to make sure everybody, from board artists and designers, to writers, animators and directors (tech and otherwise) has a chance to give input about what's important in the new contract cycle. To that end, we will set up meetings in or near each of the studios so people can provide us with their two cents.
And please know that I will be continuing my studio visits, not just during regular hours, but also, where warranted, on nights and weekends. This will help studio management stay honest. (And honest management is happy management; ask anybody.)
Last up: organizing. We have made a big push in recent months to reach out to employees of non-signator studios. Steve Kaplan, who came aboard in June to head up these efforts, has done yeoman's service doing meetings, creating web-sites and laying the groundwork for new organizing drives at Los Angeles animation studios not currently part of the TAG family. We expect these activities to broaden and accelerate in the months ahead.
I've done this job for a bit of a while now, and I've learned that labor organizations are as strong or weak as the general enivironment and their members allow them to be. (This isn't the sunniest of times to be a labor leader, but that's my problem.) Regardless, I urge you to join us in the months and years ahead, helping to extend the seamless cloak of benefits that Animation Guild members have happily worn for over half a century. Chat me up in the studio hallway. Show up at the next 401(k) enrollment meeting. Attend the next General Membership Meeting. You won't just be helping us, you'll be helping yourself.