Sunday, October 14, 2012

Meantime, On the Entertainment Labor Front

... several of our sister unions in the Alliance stir up trouble.

Crew members from the reality TV series "Fashion Star" walked off the job Saturday morning in a dispute over efforts to secure union representation.

Production of the show was suspended Saturday when about 75 crew members struck and began picketing outside Hollywood Center Studios at 8 a.m.

The strike was led by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which has been waging an ongoing campaign to extend union benefits to crew members who work behind the scenes on reality TV shows. ...

The thing about unions, if they don't organize, they wither and die. Because companies keep growing, and new companies continually come along. Blink your eyes a couple of times and the "100% representation" you once enjoyed has become 60%. (Just ask the United Auto Workers.)

As a grizzled old organizer, I can tell you that organizing an area of the biz that has less represented work is tough. Crews are usually uptight because walking out is a major step. They're putting their jobs on the line. It's only when the crappy wages and minimal or zero benefits begin to make people desperate that the reticence to take action fades away.

So hats off to the crew for standing up. And good on the IATSE for backing them as they work to gain pension and health benefits.


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