|Is Local 829 worth it? is being discussed in the ControlBooth Lighting and Electrics forum; In my years as an active IATSE member, we had a labor company that was able to provide quality technicians ...|
I am a sports official, I used to be a builder and I am in this business. I am well versed in the 1099 world as well as the employee side of the business. When I officiate I carry insurance for injury, liabilty and assault. When I was a GC I carried WC on my subs if they didn't have their own. As a stagehand I carried nothing but as far as I know the contractors did. I know a friend of mine got hurt on a union gig and recieved WC.
Michael S. Taylor
I can't say I read the whole thread, I may do at some later point but I have to say that as someone who is used to working outside of the US every time I read about how stuff works with the unions in the US it scares me.
I guess it comes with the cut-throught market-rules-all attitude that the US has, you have to have such strong representation...
Here if you get hurt on the job the employer/insurance/govt continues paying until you have recuperated (if you're incapacitated I think the government takes over but the employer also has to pay a hefty sum).
I don't know if the following is really what happens in union work but that is what I always hear rumored about union work in America being completly limited to what you came to do:
If someone from a different department needs a hand and I'm not busy I can help him without worrying that some union will want my head "because for that 1 minute of help (lifting a cable), another (qualified) person should have been hired".
Though I do hope that at some point I will also be taking jobs in the US I sincerely hope that unions/labor laws by then will be more like some other countries....
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stagehand unions are comedic. And most of the foreign stagehands I've met who HAVE worked with US stagehand unions don't think it's funny, they dread coming back to the US for shows if their companies want to send them.
But again, these rules change from city to city, venue to venue, and even show to show. I have worked with union crews who will jump jurisdiction if they know they'll be out in under the minimum, and then a week later I'm in their venue again and they pull the ol' "It's not me, man, the Business Agent and other guys in the office are on our *ss about jumping jurisdiction!". Then for load-out "Well the stewards not here so we'll help you to get you out of here early!!". HAHA whatever gets you off my back dude!
In several European countries I have worked in each venue will have a "Health & Safety Inspector" who's only job is to enforce health and safety rules. Yes they get on you for EVERYTHING under the sun (stepping one too many rungs of the ladder, not wearing steel toe boots when working with truss, etc) but in my opinion make things MUCH safer than unions I have worked with here in the US.
But again everything changes location to location. That's what is so valuable about hitting a road show here in the US that visits east to west coast and north to south cities. So many people work in one city and never get to see what stage producition is like in the rest of the US (and world!).
Privacy is a beatifull thing , although once I finally get around to creating my website advertising myself that will be gone too so I might as well...
"Here" for me would mainly be The Netherlands (Holland) and/or Israel.
The result is that most unions, being aware of the traditional and hostile attitudes of both companies and our own governments towards unions, adopted an attitude in return that the only help employees would get is from their union(s). Certainly the fact that there is no, or few standards, state to state as to provisions for workers compensation, universal health care much less general labor laws, as well as a "pro-business" attitude that that occurs with the occasional change in our political climate, makes the need for strong unions that much more necessary, today probably as much as any time in our history. We don't have our Uncle Sam looking out for us in the many ways's that a typical worker in many European countries takes for granted, and in some cases, such as the current political climate in Wisconsin, the government itself is hostile towards the unions that represents it's own state workers. This is happening in many states currently, thus unions are feeling the pressure through out the country
Along with that development of strong unions comes a great deal of rigidity when the unions need to be flexible and can't as the economy changes. Some unions are terrible at accommodating change and can justly be considered part of the problem. Other unions are pretty good at it, IATSE Local One and USA 829 are two unions I consider to be very good at being flexible and understanding and adapt well to change. Other IATSE locals throughout the US are not flexible, as many CB members have experienced.
Last edited by SteveB; January 17th, 2012 at 05:09 PM.
"Read it again, before pressing Send"
Iíve just spent a while reading this thread. The one thing that I did not see mentioned is our Employers. Live Nation, Disney, Universal, HBO NBC, Etcetera, smaller promoters and theater owners. I'm not talking about management or production. Employers. No one has discussed the entertainment companies, entities, holding companies. That is who we work for. Whether it a play or stage show, concert, touring show, movie, Broadway, TV,(Live, Live to tape)or Network or cable, thatís what I would like to mention. We donít work for each other, we work for the companies who hold contracts with The IATSE of US and Canada. The venue and type of work is defined is not the issue here.
Entertainment. Currently it is one of the the highest grossing commodity on the planet. Once spices were traded, Gold, steel. All those items and the industrial revolution died. Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbuilt Mellon and other Captains grew rich on the backs of workers in this country. They too complained about workers and denied them rights , fair wage and conditions. Those captains of industry called Senators, Congressmen and presidents to enforce company rules and break up labour. The government served as private militia for those that birthed the fortune 500 companies. The export of Entertainment is one of the only commodities the United States have left. Itís our largest export to the rest of the world. It doesn't mater where the DVD or game cartridge is pressed. American companies control and profit on Entertainment. Profit is the only consideration. To say that Unions made the cost to high to manufacture here is incorrect. To say that it was more profitable to make it cheaper somewhere else is to say there is profit to be made. Profit.
A few years ago a reporter from the NYT wrote a biased article about rates of pay among stage hands and film crew. He misquoted many sources and his premise was that IA members are paid over scale. He also attacked a Broadway crew chief that earned over $200k a year. The Theater owner defended the crew chiefís pay in the they were lucky to have him and glad he was willing to do the job and get the show up and running. The same was true with the production company that willingly paid a Gaffer ďstreet rateĒ A lot of money is riding on a million plus dollar day. The crew that is hired is trusted to deliver was the exec producers opinion. My experience has typically been that producers hire the best crew available. The best crew costs.
A very successful producer took me to dinner. They meant to turn me out and get me to join production and use my skills for their needs based on my years as an IA crew chief. They explained how they work with the IA to get contacts signed. They were quite candid about why they always use union crews. They sign a contract to protect production from the crew. Producers know the crew and labor has real strength. Not the Union, the crew. Think on this. The crew. The Designers, The Choreographers, The Production Electric, The Rigger, The Teamster, The Dance Captain, The Box Pusher, The Follow Spot Op and The Moving Light Tech and the Console Programmer are all THE CREW. Below the line costs... We don't add up to a 10-20% of the total project. My gross pay last week was less than last weeks bill the company spent on flowers for the Dressing room, Hotel room, H & MU room for the female lead. Her rider specifies she gets new arrangements each and every day. On a show last year the lead actor got 20 Million Dollars up front and a G3 Jet as a Bonus Plus a percentage of Box Office gross. I was asked to cut a few of my guys at 8 hours to help rein the budget. I did not.
I could give your many stories but my point is our employers spend recklessly. These Employers are protected by the US government. Not by Army so much, but by Tax and trade agreements.
I've read the stories here on this string and they mean infighting with rank and file grunts that only allows profit to be collected by our employers, money we leave on the table. If a crew member comes on my crew and isnít working they are sent home. I suggest itís the middle manager who is ineffective in this string. If you cant manage the crew, get out of the kitchen.
Esoteric: understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest.
My parting word. Esoteric, please donít join Iatse Local 829
meatpopsicle (January 25th, 2012)