Thursday, February 17, 2011

Organizer's Notes: 21st Century Communication

In the aftermath of the IATSE's first public meeting for Visual Effects artists, on the shores of the Pacific, criticism as been leveled at the IA about minimal web presence for the organization efforts.

Arguments have been made that since a site isn't available, the IATSE isn't ready, willing or able to represent artists. Dave Rand called for the leadership of the IATSE to "honor their paychecks" by setting a site up and providing the information that is being requested. ...

The IATSE has received the message, and steps are being taken to provide the information requested in ways that are easiest for people to view. After a site is launched and available, it will serve as a cork-lined interactive bulletin board for interested parties to visit at their leisure. But even after its launch, the lions' share of organizing will remain in the hands of artists. IATSE's leadership, staff and membership can't effectively assist unless the artists in Visual Effects participate.

Organizers such as this blogger and other union organizers are facilitators. We need your passion and persistence to complete the tasks necessary to get visual effects studios to a bargaining table. We need you to sign a card, speak to peers and colleagues, form internal committees, incite discussion and dialog, help facilitate meetings, and pass along questions, among the other important tasks. (I'm optimistic. Compared to just a year ago, artists are involved, vocal and present with their opinions. And the level of activity increases as more artists become educated about collective action and portable benefits.)

To punctuate the point, I'd like to turn your attention to another artist who has entered the blog-world anonymously. TK1099 is a TAG member (our only former members are those who have passed on) and shares my understanding of the need for artist involvement. His first post parallels my feelings on the matter and has garnered lots of attention.

Read it.


Anonymous said...

Steve could you post a link here to the original page?

Anonymous said...

The silence in this room speaks volumes.

As a frequent visitor to this and VFX Soldier's blog it seems that the attempts to raise the troops to unionize has never reached anything other than a smoldering few. Yes, Rob N, from atop his ivory tower, attempts to speak for the common man, but Rob I've worked with you - seen your lifestyle, sat in your fancy-fancy car - you are about as "common man" as the studio suits you lambaste.

Take a look at what's happening - public sector unions are being blamed (right or wrong) for helping to bankrupt states from California to Wisconsin. The word "union" has always been polarizing, its taken on an even stronger charge now.

While I sympathize with those who have fallen on hard times I am reminded of what screenwriter William Goldman said on the topic of Life's fairness, "Life is not fair, kid - you want fair, try Death - Death treats everyone the same way".

Or for you cartoony types, the Animation and VFX world can be best sum'd up by a snippet from the theme to Jay Ward's "Super Chicken",

"If you're afraid you'll have to overlook it,besides you knew the job was dangerous when you took it"

Steven Kaplan said...

Anon 8:38am -
This post has been echoed on a blog I maintain on Wordpress. You can find it at this link:

Steven Kaplan said...

Anon 8:49a -

The silence in this room could be attributed to the fact that this post was circulated using the above link as opposed to the TAG Blog. The comments there show less than the silence you find here.

However, its fun that you decide to bad mouth the organization effort while claiming to work next to some of the artists who support it. Fun, because I question your purpose for visiting the blogs of pro-union writings when its obvious by your post that you're against the effort.

You must be an artist emboldened by the scars of late nights, illegal work conditions and rampant management use of words like "Family" or "in-this-together". Or, you are management peeking in to throw a little FUD on the flames.

Either way, I'll say to you that you are wrong. The organization effort does not seek anything "Fair". Fair .. is a fairy tale concept that has no root in reality. Organization brings the volume of a collective voice to bear when setting minimums and leveling the decision making power of the workplace. That, anonymous doubter, is called Leverage.

Shine a bad light on Leverage, and it will quickly be turned back on you who use it to subjugate and shift power back to management. That is what is happening in Ohio and Wisconsin and why thousands stood out in frigid conditions to speak out. This struggle is ancient and will continue as long as there are those who sit at a desk dreaming up ways of taking more of the coin from those who stand and work.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve looks like the comments section of "The Weight of the Web" won't take any more comments
Dave Rand

Steven Kaplan said...

Dave -

Apologies for the confusion. Your comment was held because of web links. Its a Wordpress thing and I've released them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Steve.
I've carried on enough, I appreciate your responses and all your efforts.
dave rand.

Anonymous said...

So, this went up yesterday and to date there has been only very few postings - even on the links there is a spartan amount. Talk about organizing a union for VFX artists and no one gives a damn. Talk about the films that Pixar or Dream Works and the fan boys burn up their keyboards postings rants. While I may not agree with the anti-union bent of the 8:49am poster - he appears to be right.

(insert cricket sound effect here)

Anonymous said...

States are crumbling under debt and entitlements they can never possibly achieve. It's an ugly situation and unfortunately its time seems to have come, and we have to face it. Hopefully there can be compromise or many states are doomed and sadly California may be in the worse shape of them all.

Anonymous said...

I'm pro union, but NOT in the public sector. You cannot have the government employees strong arming the entire populace for their own gain and no one else's.

FDR was a president that was very vocal in his support of labor unions, but I share his views on public worker unions:

All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.

Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.

These public unions have to be reigned in. We have a $26 BILLION deficit because of them. And yes - its is solely because of THEM.

State Parks are going to be closed this year. So weigh the options for yourself. If its a matter of state parks being run by the private sector or shut down by public unions, I say fire them all. And thats what the public states as well.

This is not an attack on democracy, it is democracy in action and the unions are standing against it. America wants to vote on this - and they are against that democratic principle.

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