Addressing Union Problems

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Posted by Charles on July 07, 1999 at 00:03:33:

In Reply to: 1/3 of Osmosis done overseas posted by Gobot on July 06, 1999 at 22:43:06:

After posting my congratulations to the Union for finally breaking into DIC and for other recent successes, I started looking at the bigger picture. Why all of a sudden this aggressive attitude? What caused the change? This web site? Pressure from the membership?

Perhaps, but then I realized the obvious. After the great expansion in animation over the last decade, I'm sure that the recent layoffs put a crimp into the lucrative aspect of new members and the revenues that initiation fees and new membership dues generate. Is this sudden activity by the Union's leadership related to a newfound interest in bettering the animation employment situation for artists, or does it have something to do with IATSE trying to make up for lost revenues? I tend to think that the driving force behind their motivation is the latter, but i'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

In any case, I believe that the issue you brought up about the 56 hour work week at Sony is a great reminder of how far the Union really has to go before it can regain the trust and confidence of many of its members. Nothing will ever change unless the Union membership gets involved and demands an end to this kind of acquiesance. If they aren't pressured, nothing will change.

You can't just sit there and let other people take care of it, or think that the problem will go away by complaining about it among friends while never taking it to a Union meeting to be addressed. The IATSE employees who administrate Local 839 think they know what's best for animation artists even though they're not animation artists themselves. There has to be an "in your face" but professional confrontation with these people by the Union's constituency to get them to think twice before they agree to these kind of terms on the behalf of animation artists. Maybe they think that this will encourage Sony to keep more jobs stateside. In any case, if the membership doesn't get directly involved, count on more of the same kind of representation.

As far as Osmosis Jones is concerned, my guess is that they're trying to meet an impossible deadline as well as get the film produced as economically as possible considering all the money Warner's has squandered in the recent past, especially now that Disney is planning on a similar project. If they have to go outside the L.A. area for overflow production, I would think that a studio like Startoons would work out well for them since there is a previous working relationship between the two. Still, two thirds of something is better than nothing at all.

O. Jones has been sitting around for a very long time. Why they waited so long to give it a green light is beyond me. One look at the project and you know that it's a winner. It's very typical of animation executive planning to wait until the last minute before deciding to go ahead, then they behave as if everything needs to be done yesterday.

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