The "S" Word

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Posted by Charles on February 14, 2000 at 14:47:46:

The Union is going to have an important meeting tomorrow night. The subject of discussion, I believe, will be the runaway production problem that is severely affecting the industry here in LA.

Fox has laid off the overwhelming majority of its creative staff in Phoenix.

Warner Brothers TV has given the pink slip to many of its remaining artists. Disney TV is operating with a skeleton creative crew. Sony Colmubia TriStar has also laid off many artists recently. Don't forget the layoffs and disbandonment of the studios Disney opened in Canada.

In almost every instance, management has not been affected and if it has, in a manner that is grossly disproportionate to the decimation that their poor planning and selfishness has caused.

Are Union people upset about this? Of course they are. So are independent artists. Is the Union going to protest the biased, discriminatory practices of this industry's inane management? Are they going to take to take to the streets and make an issue of the biggest single problem that this industry is facing? No, they're not. Why? Because they'll be in breach of the contract they signed. The one that gave away their right to a formal protest.

I'm not advocating a strike by any means, but I certainly do advocate the right to strike. It should be sacrosanct for every union in the country. It is so important, it is worth striking for.

So what's the story, Union artists? Are you willing to fight for your most basic of rights? How about the "golden shackles" club here in LA. You know who you are. Are you willing to fight for your right to formally protest? For the right of your brothers and sisters to protest? Are you willing to pressure IATSE into writing this into your contract? Are you going to lead? Follow? Get out of the way?

How about animation artists across North America? You Canadians - are you going to accept work that's farmed out to you because your colleagues in the states are standing up for us all? If not, you're next on the list. Studios in India are gearing up to compete with you. The minimum wage in the Philippines is $7.50 a week. Willing to work for the same?

The Union's contract expires this July. If North American animation artists don't get themselves together, especially the ones in LA, then you all deserve the future that's waiting for you.

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