Monday, January 26, 2009

I.A. Executive Board Meeting

Albuquerque is where the Mother International is holding its Winter executive board meeting, so that's where I'm presently hanging my hat ...

The I.A. exec board meets twice a year. Mostly, the board hears reports from its various locals across the Unites States and Canada regarding organizing, new contracts negotiated, political outreach. I.A representatives such as Yours Truly attend to find out the Big Picture, hobnob with other guilds and unions, and generally take care of any business needed to be done with the high potentates of the organization.

Today's reports covered a wide spectrum of activities, including new contracts on the right coast and the recently negotiated Basic Agreement hammered out on the left. (Guess what? It's a challenge to negotiate a contract when the economy is cratering, but the I.A. managed to equal the W.G.A. and D.G.A. deals.)

The take-away for me on Day One was this from the Actors Fund representative:

Health Insurance Resource Center

Our Health Insurance Resource Center (HIRC) has been connecting artists, craftspeople and entertainment industry workers around the country to health insurance and affordable health care since 1998.

Getting health insurance or finding quality medical care is a constant concern for anyone who is uninsured or who isn’t covered by an employer, union or government health plan. The Center identifies alternative routes to coverage and local resources for care for performers, visual artists, stagehands, filmmakers, musicians, artisans, and other self-employed and episodic workers.

With offices in New York and Los Angeles and a staff that is experienced in health insurance and health care counseling, HIRC takes a multi-faceted approach to the problem of health care access ....

This might surprise you, but apparently there is a recession on, and a lot of I.A.T.S.E. members and other industry workers are taking advantage of services the Fund has to offer.

And mid-afternoon, a couple hundred IA labor reps were informed of this bit of news:

A few minutes ago, Variety reported that [Screen Actors Guild Executive Director Doug] Allen had advised SAG staffers in an email that he was leaving his post ...

This was met with spontaneous applause. Not because anybody takes great pleasure in another labor leader's professinoal demise, but because everyone in the room knows that doing a job action with little leverage, the economy in meltdown, and the template for the deal already encased in cement is not a real swift idea.

In fact, it's borderline insane.

On the bright side, maybe now a new agreement between SAG and the AMPTP can be reached, and people can be slightly less freaked about soon losing their jobs.


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