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NEB Meeting - Results of Vote on Operator Position


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#1 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 08:14 PM

After MANY hours of discussion that encompassed 15 points of
our contract negotiations, and most importantly the job
of the Operator, the vote went to the members of the
National Executive Board.

And, as I understand it, for the first time in Local 600 history
there was a UNANIMOUS decision...to REJECT the contract
that was negotiated by our leaders and send the vote to
the people of all 18 IATSE Locals in the Bargaining Agreement!!

This is a BIG step, but still just the FIRST step in many needed to
reverse this incomprehensible decision to accept the operator's
position on the film set as "optional".

Here's what's next.
Think of the 18 IATSE Locals as you would our 50 States in a Presidential Election.
Each of the 18 Locals has "electorial votes" that total something like 350 ish.
Local 600's "electorial" amount is 54.

When the ballots get sent out to ALL the members of the 18 Locals for voting, we NEED
a majority of those 300 and some odd "electorial" votes to vote NO on accepting
this contract.
To do this, WE ALL need to contact as MANY members of other locals as possible
and ASK them to band together WITH us and REJECT this contract.

This will be hard, as they MAY have negotiated a contract to THEIR liking in their
local union. But what we need them to see and understand is that IF this contract
does NOT get voted down, and the operator position BECOMES optional, it is
the FIRST step in future elimination of jobs including ones from their unions.
(For instance, they'd want Key Grips to also work as Dolly Grips, eliminating the
Dolly Grip position and another job on the set).
As the saying goes, "TOGETHER we stand, DIVIDED we fall."
If they support us and reject the contract, they are not only backing us
and helping to preserve the operator position, they are most definitely defending
positions in THEIR local that would inevitably be on the chopping block in future
negoitations by the producers.

David Fredrick gave a wonderful speech on all of our behalfs.
MANY distinguished Directors of Photography and members from all categories of
the NEB stood up and defended our position and the importance of rejecting this
contract as well.
In the end, it was clear and not much convincing needed to be made. Everyone but
ONE person in the room wanted to REJECT this contract and renegotiate with the producers,
letting them know we will NOT accept the operator position as being "optional" on a film set!

Now the time to start making calls begins.
We need all Local 600 member's help.
Talk to as many crew members as you can on your current shoots.
Call past crew members and let them know what's at stake and ask them
to reject (VOTE NO) on the contracts they will be getting in the mail in
the next couple weeks. This will send the IA back into negotiations with
the Producer's so we can ALL have a better contract and set a precedence
of strength and unity for future negotiations. We just want what's fair and right
and we all want to stay working.
Ironically, as we all seem to know it's in the BEST interest
of the producer's to renegotiate too. Shows need to run as smoothly and efficiently as
possible...eliminating key set positions can only hurt us all, including them
and the studios. Someday, maybe someday, they will finally see and understand
that. And when they do, we'll all be better (and happier) for it.

Thanks to everyone who came out to this meeting in support of our jobs,
and thanks in anticipation to all of you who'll make calls to IA members
of every local asking for their support as well.
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#2 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 09:19 PM

After MANY hours of discussion that encompassed 15 points of
our contract negotiations, and most importantly the job
of the Operator, the vote went to the members of the
National Executive Board.

And, as I understand it, for the first time in Local 600 history
there was a UNANIMOUS decision...to REJECT the contract
that was negotiated by our leaders and send the vote to
the people of all 18 IATSE Locals in the Bargaining Agreement!!



This is GREAT news Micheal.

Sorry that I couldn't make it but I was working today, I really wish I was there. Now it's up too us to get the word out and finally make a stand.

Thanks to you, Denis, and the others that kept the fight in front of us where we need it to be.
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#3 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 01:13 AM

Michael, thanks for the update. I wish I could have attended as well but I was filming till the wee hours of the morning Saturday. Did Tom Short show up?

Best,

Lawrence






After MANY hours of discussion that encompassed 15 points of
our contract negotiations, and most importantly the job
of the Operator, the vote went to the members of the
National Executive Board.

And, as I understand it, for the first time in Local 600 history
there was a UNANIMOUS decision...to REJECT the contract
that was negotiated by our leaders and send the vote to
the people of all 18 IATSE Locals in the Bargaining Agreement!!

This is a BIG step, but still just the FIRST step in many needed to
reverse this incomprehensible decision to accept the operator's
position on the film set as "optional".

Here's what's next.
Think of the 18 IATSE Locals as you would our 50 States in a Presidential Election.
Each of the 18 Locals has "electorial votes" that total something like 350 ish.
Local 600's "electorial" amount is 54.

When the ballots get sent out to ALL the members of the 18 Locals for voting, we NEED
a majority of those 300 and some odd "electorial" votes to vote NO on accepting
this contract.
To do this, WE ALL need to contact as MANY members of other locals as possible
and ASK them to band together WITH us and REJECT this contract.

This will be hard, as they MAY have negotiated a contract to THEIR liking in their
local union. But what we need them to see and understand is that IF this contract
does NOT get voted down, and the operator position BECOMES optional, it is
the FIRST step in future elimination of jobs including ones from their unions.
(For instance, they'd want Key Grips to also work as Dolly Grips, eliminating the
Dolly Grip position and another job on the set).
As the saying goes, "TOGETHER we stand, DIVIDED we fall."
If they support us and reject the contract, they are not only backing us
and helping to preserve the operator position, they are most definitely defending
positions in THEIR local that would inevitably be on the chopping block in future
negoitations by the producers.

David Fredrick gave a wonderful speech on all of our behalfs.
MANY distinguished Directors of Photography and members from all categories of
the NEB stood up and defended our position and the importance of rejecting this
contract as well.
In the end, it was clear and not much convincing needed to be made. Everyone but
ONE person in the room wanted to REJECT this contract and renegotiate with the producers,
letting them know we will NOT accept the operator position as being "optional" on a film set!

Now the time to start making calls begins.
We need all Local 600 member's help.
Talk to as many crew members as you can on your current shoots.
Call past crew members and let them know what's at stake and ask them
to reject (VOTE NO) on the contracts they will be getting in the mail in
the next couple weeks. This will send the IA back into negotiations with
the Producer's so we can ALL have a better contract and set a precedence
of strength and unity for future negotiations. We just want what's fair and right
and we all want to stay working.
Ironically, as we all seem to know it's in the BEST interest
of the producer's to renegotiate too. Shows need to run as smoothly and efficiently as
possible...eliminating key set positions can only hurt us all, including them
and the studios. Someday, maybe someday, they will finally see and understand
that. And when they do, we'll all be better (and happier) for it.

Thanks to everyone who came out to this meeting in support of our jobs,
and thanks in anticipation to all of you who'll make calls to IA members
of every local asking for their support as well.


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#4 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 04:23 PM

No, Tom Short did not come to the meeting even though he was
in Los Angeles!

I also wanted to say a special thanks to Ian Dodd, who emailed
one of the board members about the issue and that email was read out loud.
It was a very nice email highlighting all the attributes and importance of an
operator and was one of the FIRST things read after the morning roll call.
Thanks Ian!


Michael, thanks for the update. I wish I could have attended as well but I was filming till the wee hours of the morning Saturday. Did Tom Short show up?

Best,

Lawrence


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#5 JamieSilverstein

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 04:35 AM

Its encouraging that the rest of the body is coming out and supporting the operator classification..... At least in words....
Not to put a damper on the situation, it still comes down to two things. The first is the overwhelming support of Tom Short regarding this cause, and the second being the ensuing support of the rest of the Hollywood Basic locals in not ratifying the contract as presented.
I think that with this current leadership of Local 600, Short's support is going to be limited. Why should he support a local that questions most of his actions? Isn't there an adage about not biting the hand that feeds you?
I wish I could have gone out there to be with you fellow operators and show my support. I was told by Tom Houghton that it was a very constructive meeting, but the question is where do we go from here?
Any ideas?
  • 0

#6 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 11:49 AM

Its encouraging that the rest of the body is coming out and supporting the operator classification..... At least in words....
Not to put a damper on the situation, it still comes down to two things. The first is the overwhelming support of Tom Short regarding this cause, and the second being the ensuing support of the rest of the Hollywood Basic locals in not ratifying the contract as presented.
I think that with this current leadership of Local 600, Short's support is going to be limited. Why should he support a local that questions most of his actions? Isn't there an adage about not biting the hand that feeds you?
I wish I could have gone out there to be with you fellow operators and show my support. I was told by Tom Houghton that it was a very constructive meeting, but the question is where do we go from here?
Any ideas?




Jamie,

As I listed above, the NEXT step is to call, email, write any and every crew member you know.
Look back on past crew lists if you have too and BRIEFLY let them know what's going on and
what's at stake with the Operator position and the dangers of losing OTHER positions in every
local if this contract passes.
Ask, plead if necessary, that when their ballots come in in the next week or two they VOTE a NO
vote on accepting the current contract and send it BACK in.
If we get a majority on the "electorial" votes from our and other unions, it FORCES the unions
and producers to go BACK to the negotiating table.
In round two, the producers may very well DEMAND other take backs again, but the loss
of the operator position will NOT be one of them and we will NOT allow our leaders to give it up
this time...I think that's clear to them now.

Thanks again.
  • 0

#7 Joshua Harrison

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 12:58 PM

As was stated above, this is far from over. I was excited and happy as everyone else, but we cannot sit still and not do anything. The amount of work that is ahead of us is a bit daunting. To recap, the NEB voted unanimously to not ratify the current propasal agreed to by the Producers and local 600's negotiating team. This means that we must now go to generals and fight for these takebacks again. Not just the Operators slot, it is now a myriad of problems that we face. We may win this war but if we lose golden time and tech rate, your first ac's just took a 15% or so pay cut. There's gonna be a lot of unhappy people if we lose ground in generals. Obviously our first priority is keeping the Operator position. I was extremely happy to see the board stand together to put this one down, but if we don't fight now we could lose the operator (mandatory) position and lose tech rate and golden time. Please everyone get involved ask other IA members if they know their leadership and ask them to pass on to the leadership this plight.


Joshua Harrison
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