Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Business Agent's Workday

What does a union business agent do all day? I answered this sometime back in the union newsletter, but it bears repeating: *I initiate and pursue grievances. When a member believes his contractual rights are being violated and calls on me to DO something, I spring into action: I phone the studio and bring the problem to its attention. Studio researches problem, gets back to me with a "yeah, you're right" or "no, you're full of it" (more diplomatically stated, of course.) Studio and Guild them move to an informal, intermediate hearing called "Step Three." If we're still at loggerheads, we move to a full-boat arbitration where either Guild or studio prevail and the decision of the arbitrator is final. * I visit studios. This is an almost daily occurrence, wherein I go room to room and cubicle to cubicle, meeting and greeting and seeing if anyone has questions or problems. I handle lots of small problems like getting people squared away with the industry health plan, answering queries about overtime or retirement or anything else that comes up. It's the way I keep up with what's going on in the biz. Studios know that I float around, and I like to think my presence helps tamp abuses down. (It doesn't eliminate them.) * I talk on the phone a lot. With members answering questions, with studios answering questions, with reporters answering questions, with other union reps...kibitzing. (And a subset to the above would be: "I respond to e-mails a lot.") * I organize animation studios. Actually, "I aid and abet non-union studio employees in organizing studios." I, in fact, organize nothing. Only the people in the workplace can do that. And once a quarter, I enroll members in TAG's 401(K) Plan. And four times a month, Kevin and I chat up new members at our legendary "new member lunches" (see below.)


Site Meter