Monday, September 27, 2010

A challenge to the membership, by Tom Sito

Artist: Hans Bacher

Dear Members:

Long before I was involved in union politics, I was as bad as anyone else about attending regular union meetings. But the one meeting I did made sure to attend was the one every three years that nominates candidates for office. These people are the ones who will spearhead policy for our Guild for the next three years. They will be heading up our negotiations with the studios, they are the ones who vote on many important issues. So even if you don't give a damn about anything else the Guild does, it's pretty important for you and your family's well being to attend this meeting.

President Kevin Koch, Business Rep Steve Hulett and the current Executive Board have done a terrific job these last years. But as the Roman writer Ovid said, "Omnias mutantor" - all things change. Some officers may step down, new officers will step up. Many of the Executive Board have been serving for many years, and they are to be commended for it. It's a non-salaried job that yields little benefit for one's own career, it doesn't help them get work or get paid more. They do it because they care.

But now, as our triennial elections are upon us, we could always use some new blood. A majority of our Executive Board are baby boomer generation. How about folks representing Generation X and Y running for office? How about some of you from games and CG efx? The more parts of our industry and demographic are represented, the more relevant our guild, and the more likely your issues will be addressed.

President Koch and I are living examples of how an individual who cares can effect change. I gave it nine years, and it didn't hurt my career. I'm as proud of my time as your president as I am of any of the movies I animated on, or any of the TV shows I directed.

Your 401K, the IAP accounts, our beautiful Guild headquarters and Gallery 839, more CG artists represented than any other group in the world, same-sex medical benefits, CG re-education for traditional artists. All these good things came about because people took the time from their careers to care. For Executive Board members, it only requires one Tuesday night from you a month.

In all our news, we hear of workers' rights under attack. Overtime cut, compensation cut, healthcare safety nets under assault. Employers getting away with it all and laughing at the law. Instead of just bitching on blogs that nobody is doing anything, why not step up and be part of the solution? You wouldn't give your wallet to a stranger, why leave such important issues to people you don't know? Corporations are not democracies, but our Guild is. Leo Tolstoy wrote: "If evil people can work together to get what they want, why can't good people work together to get what they want?"

On Tuesday night, please do us all a favor and join in the discussion. Run for office, nominate good people, be part of the vote. Join in for your family's sake. Join in for your friends' sake. 839 is not "that union". It is YOU and ME. It is OUR GUILD.

Take hold of it, and make of it what you want.

--Tom Sito President Emeritus, The Animation Guild

GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2010 6:30 pm, pizza & refreshments 7 pm, meeting 1105 N. HOLLYWOOD WAY, BURBANK (between Magnolia and Chandler)


  • Nominations for election of Animation Guild officers
    • President
    • Vice-President
    • Business Representative
    • Recording Secretary
    • Sergeant-At-Arms
    • Executive Board (11 positions)
  • Discussion and vote on the budget for the next TAG party
  • Panel discussion and demonstration on earthquake preparedness, hosted by KAREN NUGENT and JOHN CATALDI and featuring JEFF EDELSTEIN of SOS Survival Products and DONNA NUZZI, Emergency Services supervisor of the city of Santa Clarita

    Anonymous said...

    Actress Gloria Stewart died last night at the age of 100.

    Stuart's union activities began while making Whale's 1932 horror comedy "The Old Dark House" with Boris Karloff and Melvyn Douglas.

    "All of us were just exhausted by the long hours, and Melvyn Douglas leaned over to me in this theatrical way," she recalled in a 1998 Los Angeles Times interview. "He whispered the word 'union' in my ear. And I thought, 'Yes!' "

    At the time, she wrote in her autobiography, "Actors worked unconscionable hours — especially females, because every morning our needs included a great deal of time in hairdressing and makeup. Meals were served at the convenience of the production staff. There was no allotment for travel time, no standard hours between work calls, no pay for overtime or double overtime — what we call golden time. And if an actor under contract refused a role the studio had chosen, he/she was suspended without pay — and the time was added on to the contract!"

    Despite stiff studio resistance, the Screen Actors Guild was founded in 1933.

    Tom Sito said...

    I posted this two days ago, but it may have been late for some to read it. So here it is again-

    This meeting tomorrow will be pretty crucial. I'm not running again, and President Koch is not returning, so the field is wide open for new blood and new ideas. A new Era for 839 may be dawning.

    But if no one comes forward, don't bitch "anonymously" that the union is weak and doesn't do anything.

    Over the weekend I attended the memorial for Bill Littlejohn, a great animator who faced down blacklists, threats and mobsters, and helped make this business a better living for all of us.

    You can't tell me you've got it tougher than HE did? Yet he stood up and he had a great career too.

    President Koch, Former President Karan Storr, Me and Presidents going back 72 years to Art Babbitt the creator of Goofy, are all watching to see who has what it takes to join our ranks. Good Luck with the Election!

    Steve Hulett said...

    Let me tell you about making a difference.

    President Emeritus Sito was among the first union officers in the IA to propose and push for health coverage for same-sex couples. He pushed for a 401(k) Plan and was intrumental in getting it set up.

    President Koch pushed for more union proactivity and outreach, a new union building, and added services.

    One person ... or three people ... or five people can improve lives.

    C.M.B. said...

    I'd really like to come. Unfortunately I had to take an animation job in another city so I'm over 1,000 miles away from Los Angeles.

    Anonymous said...

    And the Pirate Hat passes to a grand new guard.

    Steven Kaplan said...

    I've seen pictures of that hat!

    Tom - what will it take to get that hat from you?

    handel said...

    ""And the Pirate Hat passes to a grand new guard.""

    Wish I could "like" that comment. A hundred times, cuz it's sooo true.

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