Thursday, October 31, 2013

I was mad as hell

In July of 1980, about six months after I started working for the Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839 IATSE, I attended my first IATSE convention, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Within forty-eight hours of my arrival, I was mad as hell. I was so mad at what the IATSE was doing, I had booked tickets for my return, packed my bag, and notified the hotel of my departure. It was only after a very long talk with Moe Gollub and Bud Hester that I agreed, reluctantly, to stay.

In September of 2013, I found myself at a membership meeting of what was now known as the Animation Guild. I heard the anger of members at what they have to go through on an ongoing basis. Oppressive deadlines. Unfair and arbitrary hiring tests. Pay raises that don’t keep pace with the cost of living. Untalented businesspersons taking credit and accepting awards for our work. And worst of all, the ever-present threat of uncompensated overtime.

I thought back to when my anger at the doings of the Mother Alliance made me mad enough to threaten to leave the convention, and I realized two things:
  1. I can no longer remember what I was mad about in 1980.
  2. It doesn’t matter.
That’s what we have in common — something that triggered our sense of fairness and justice, and our anger at those who would deny us our hard-won rights as workers. Something that made us mad, and wanted to join others who were also mad.

Not everyone who is mad gets mad in the same way. I like to think of myself as a calm, friendly person. Others may show their anger differently. But we belong to the same organization … we call it the American labor movement.

By the time I came to the above realizations I had already decided it was time for me to retire. I am stepping down as Recording Secretary, Assistant to the Business Representative, and as editor of The Peg-Board, effective today. This will be my last post on the TAG Blog.

After over half a lifetime, even though my memory of what I was mad at so long ago has faded, I am still mad as hell. So I intend to keep showing up at membership meetings — retired members have voice but no vote — and sit in the back row with the angry people.

Those who show up at meetings can look for us there. And for those who don’t show up at meetings … after thirty-three years of begging and pleading, I can say: it’s your loss.

See you around.
Illustration by Pres Romanillos


Cathlin Hidalgo-Polvani said...

Thank you for your years of advice, your time and your service.

Cathlin Hidalgo-Polvani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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