Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tonight's Special Membership Meeting

Biggest turnout in thirty years.

The room was way too small for the number of people who showed up. Two hundred and forty artists, writers and tech directors sat, stood in the back and crowded the stairwell listening to the negotiation committee's presentation of the two days of talks that ended in a walkout at the start of Day Three ...

I gave a synopsis of the producer and Animation Guild's proposals, after which members gave their own eloquent takes on the progress (or lack thereof) the committee encountered during negotiations.

* How the AMPTP let the committee know that live-action scripts are more "complex" and "sophisticated" than the animated variety.

* How almost all of TAG's proposals were rejected. And then the committee got a low-ball offer on wages.

* How there is no need to take account of holidays in work schedules, because "the show must go on."

* Etc.

Members in attendance made it clear they weren't inclined to take less than the IATSE and local unions in the Basic Agreement negotiations achieved. The committee asked for additional input from the membership, and asked them to give their priorities on proposals. (In the next few days, members will receive a list of proposals with the request to get the digital form back to TAG as rapidly as possible for tabulation.)

Near meeting's end, I said that any member who desired to serve on the negotiation committee for the next round of talks should contact me via


Sharon Forward said...

I was so inspired by ALL the articulate comments tonight. The talent in that room made me cheer! Congratulations on an informative and vital discussion!

Unknown said...

Next time at the negotiation when someone across the table makes an "argument" that The Simpsons writing is 'less sophisticated' than a live action sit-com as justification for the pay disparity (half), someone on our side needs to step up and dismiss such arguments. Opinions like that are a waste of our time and probably intentionally. I hope that we are making our case with facts and numbers and not getting caught up in such absurd debates like the one mentioned last night.

We also have to publicize their main source of leverage: that they may CHOOSE (it's a choice as Hullet pointed out) to take production oversees. People know that outsourcing is happening, but I don't think most people know that it is actually blatantly stated as a negotiation tool. I think whomever uses such a "stick" would rather avoid being called out and the bad PR that would arise after everyone knew she was the person behind the threat. It didn't help Met Witman's cause. It'll probably hurt Romney as well. Because, it demonstrates their true spirit.

Steve Hulett said...

The threat of outsourcing is always used.

Problem with that is: they can outsource NOW. Carole Lombardini (head of the AMPTP) said to me yesterday that "Warner Bros. has nine empty stages," because of the big costs of the new contract.

Okay. But the new contract hasn't kicked in yet. So it must be some other reason, yes?

Studios shift productions to different places for all sorts of reasons. A 2% bump in wage minimums -- which won't cover rising inflation costs -- is only one of them. And a small one at that.

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