Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Philly Meetings

It's not the sunniest of times for labor unions in general, but the IA is working to hold its ground ....

I've been in IATSE Executive Board Meetings here in Philedelpha the past two days (and will until the end of the week) and these are some of the things I've learned:

* The IA has increased its account balancess and defense funds over the last year. (A good thing, considering the times in which we live.)

* The IA has forged a new, peaceful alliance with the Teamsters (which is useful, because in the past the IA was at war with the Teamsters.)

* The Cinematographer's Guild (one of the IA's national unions) has had solid success with training seminars it's set up in various production cities. (Training in digital cinematography, training in 3-D cinematography, etc.)

At the same time, wage increases in different Collective Bargaining Agreements across the U.S. and Canada have been in the 1%, 2%, and 2 1/2% range. (The days of 3% annual boosts are, for the moment, o-ver.) And IA Reps are going to different parts of the country helping out smaller locals who have been put under pressure because of the Big Recession.

And none of the Hollywood union reps to whom I've talked between exec board meetings say that their members are over-employed just now. As one said last night:

"It's been tough. We've had 40% of our membership unemployed over the past year."

Bad times have a way of biting in painful ways.


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