Monday, September 01, 2014

Entertainment Unions

Now with minimum wage Add On!

Since it's labor day, let us link to Dave Robb's handy list of guilds and unions representing workers in the entertainment industry.

According to latest documents the unions file with the U.S. Department of Labor, there are:

• 156,894 voting members of SAG-AFTRA

• 118,829 members of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees

• 78,764 members of American Federation of Musicians

• 43,076 members of Actors Equity

• 21,162 members of the Writers Guild of America West

• 15,114 members of the Directors Guild of America

• 7,259 members of the American Guild of Musical Artists

• 4,261 members of Teamsters Local 399

• 3,718 members of the WGA East

• 2,624 members of the American Guild of Variety Artists

• 630 members of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 40

Then there are some 12,000 members of NABET-Communications Workers of America; more than 6,000 members of the Producers Guild of America (though it’s technically not a union); nearly 2,000 members of Plumbers Local 78; about 1,100 members of Studio Utility Employees Local No. 724; some 270 members of Plasterers & Cement Masons Local 755, and 79 members of the industry’s smallest union, the Guild of Italian American Actors. ...

When I was a neophyte business rep in 1990, I had a Disney TVA exec tell me:

You know, there was a time when labor unions were really necessary. But companies are enlightened now. They're not really needed the way they used to be.

I didn't agree with him then, but I didn't argue the point. Two decades on, I still don't agree. But I had a chance at the start of the 21st century to remind hims about his about his old statement about "not needing unions" in his Disney office all those years ago. He was at another studio by then. I was (again) sitting in his office. The guy stared at his folded hands and said:

"That was kind of a dumb thing to say, wasn't it? Obviously wrong."

Yeah, obviously.

As we paddle deeper into the new millennium, it gets clearer and clearer that the executive's statement from a quarter century ago was a teensy bit inaccurate. I meet few people working in show biz (or anywhere else) who think they're better off now than they were two decades ago.

But hey. If you're among the delusional few who believes the old weekly paycheck is fantabulous, and the working conditions sublime, you can't credit the unions, because they have little or nothing to do with it. In private industry, they rep 6.7% of the work force *.

George Carlin voices a somewhat different sentiment than that Disney rep, one that's a wee bit closer to my own:

* This percentage is higher in the movie/television business and conditions are somewhat better, but you get the idea; hard to swim against a current that is flooding against you.

Add On: College prof and former TAG e-board member Mark Farquhar sends us a fine podcast regarding the history of wages in the good old U.S. of A. (It's also linked at the top).


Tikkigirls said...

Myth: The Government and Labor Unions Saved Us From Low Wages and Poverty | Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

Steve Hulett said...

FYI, Dr. Woods has a PhD in history from Columbia, is a libertarian, and (from Wikipedia) ...

Woods [is] a founding member of the League of the South, which Boot noted advocates secession and "counsels 'white Southerners' that they should not 'give control over their civilization and its institutions to another race, whether it be native blacks or Hispanic immigrants'".[17]

A winter 2006 Intelligence Report by the Southern Poverty Law Center also criticized Woods's membership in the League, which the report described as "a Southern secessionist group with white supremacist ideology".[18]

It would seem that the "free market" only extends so far for Mr. Woods, particularly when it comes to race.

I wonder what his thoughts are regarding the massive government intervention in the marketplace in the Fall of 2008? When the "free market" wasn't allowed to operate on Wall Street, and no bankruptcies (the "creative destruction" inside free enterprise that we always hear about) was not allowed to happen.

Tikkigirls said...

The Southern Poverty Law Center has been dumped as a "resource" on the FBI's Hate Crime Web page. So I would not use them as a credible source... To pull up the racist card is very, very low since the next paragraph in the Wikipedia article you quoted successfully obliterates the racist accusation... (In 2014 apparently, when you deviate slightly about the allowable political opinion is obvious that the only conclusion is that racism and bigotry is involved)

Regarding the bailout, as an Austrian economics follower, he was strongly against it, and has written books about the subject.

While some of us are making cartoons and some others were also holding sings at picket lines, others were studying their PHD's in history and economics so they can speak with some knowledge about issues that are nor as black or white as some people may want to portrait them.

Tom Woods said...

Steve, no need to wonder: I wrote a book about the crisis of 2008 that spent ten weeks on the New York Times bestseller list (some achievement for a "white supremacist," eh?) and that opposed every one of those interventions.

This League of the South thing is from 20 years ago. Many academic historians, including the esteemed Forrest McDonald, were there. There is a teensy chance that the SPLC might -- MIGHT, I say -- have a tendentious interpretation of that. My academic record, and my whole body of work, obviously run counter to your strange decision to pick out one event from when I was in college to describe who I am today.

Don't do things like that. I don't. I used to, but I decided that made me a bad person, so I stopped. We're on this earth for so little time; why be vicious toward strangers? Why not give them the benefit of the doubt, or figure that maybe they have a side to the story?

Steve Hulett said...

Since the League of the South part of your life is from an older, different time, then I apologize for posting it.

You're right. I know you not at all. I noted that your PhD is in history, and pasted part of the 'Pedia entry. (This on five minutes of rooting through the internet).

Glad to know you hold the same view of Wall Street that I do. So you know, I wrote multiple congress persons in Fall 2008, urging them to vote no on Paulsen's proposal. To no avail, but I gave it the old college try.

Grant said...

Woods is a fraud, top to bottom. And a plagiarist--in other words, a liar. Only fools would trust a word he writes.

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