Monday, November 24, 2008

Thoughts on the strike vote #1

There's a line I've heard for the past three days now,

"In these tough economics times, why would SAG even think about striking?"

Before I even answer that, it needs to be reiterated repeatedly, a strike authorization does not necessarily mean there will be a strike! It is a bargaining chip. It is the sole threat that labor unions bring to the bargaining table, and unions don't go for such a vote willy-nilly.

Now, let me put my Ph.D hat on and remind you that during the depths of the Great Depression, one-third of workers in the U.S. were out of work, 5,000 banks had crashed, and over 32,000 businesses had closed.

And in Detroit, over 200,000 auto workers had lost their jobs, sending the city's unemployment rate near 50%.

I guess those with jobs should have felt lucky to be employed at all, even with harsh working conditions, no overtime protection, and six-day work weeks.

After all, they were in "worse economic times" that we are in now.

So, what did they do? They spend a few years battling the Big Three to form the United Auto Workers, improved their working conditions, and helped to create a stable middle class.

In short, those union activists were looking down the road at future conditions, not just a paycheck in their hands that day.

And that's what this possible labor action is about - the future of online media and the ability of working actors to get paid fairly, only - and if - the producers make money.

For those backgrounders who claim, "Yeah, but it doesn't affect me, or the background contract," let me assure you, there is a doomsday scenario for background actors if the authorization vote is denied. I'll be posting about that in the near future.

41 comments:

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smplcv said...
This comment has been removed by the author.