I'm going to deviate from the norm here for a minute and talk about something that concerns those of us covered by the IA Hollywood Basic contract that's up for vote. Yeah, it sucks. I'm a pretty forgiving guy and I have never asked for more than I work for. I'm not even a hardcore Union cheerleader. I have, however, been in the IA for almost twenty years and I've watched our benefits and working conditions deteriorate at a steady rate while profits rise. The new contract calls for the current 300 hour requirement for insurance to be raised to 400 hours. All right, I understand that medical costs have gone up and I understand that something has to give. I'm willing to give them that. The New Media contract is a joke. It has worse standards than the non-union shows I used to do. Interchageability of crafts (in other words, we're tools, not professional craftsmen). No minimum rates. Residuals, out the window. Then, we get a letter telling us what a great contract it is and that we should vote "yes." It's insulting. Especially in the light of the joke of an HBO contract that a lot of us are working under now that should have been renegotiated but hasn't.
Over the years I've watched producers get concession after concession and I keep getting letters telling me how great the new contract is from people who aren't standing out in the rain with me all night. Then, my OWN UNION keeps telling me that a "No vote is a vote to strike." Whose side are these guys on? I'm tired of being in a union that seems to just roll over at the whim of the AMPTP in every negotiating session. The studios are having record profits and the price of doing business for them keeps going down because we're weak negotiators. I've had it.