Re: What's this "Union"?

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Posted by Jon on April 12, 2000 at 01:15:42:

In Reply to: Re: What's this "Union"? posted by Bruce on April 11, 2000 at 09:48:06:

: : That same mentality - "we want a piece of the action" - has probably replaced the love and discovery.

: If "we want a piece of the action" had truly replaced the love of animation, animators would be getting residuals right now. Animators would have demanded that their representatives negotiate it. The Union isn't some outside organization that rules the working lives of animators against their will; it's made up of people just like yourself who feel that they can speak more persuasively with a voice that is unified than they can individually.

Well I think there's a difference between "wanting a piece of the action" and "getting a piece of the action." I think animators still want it. My perspective is, I didn't graduate college, I used to drive a truck, and now I'm just glad to be doing work I enjoy. The way things are going, I may have to switch careers. Truck-driving wasn't so bad.

: :But coming to terms with today's economy almost requires a whole new approach ... I think. I kind of LIKE the non-business aspect of animation.

: Most animators would agree with you about the part of the process they like, but somebody has to take care of business. The trouble lies, as Charles has pointed out, with the businesspeople who have been taking care of the business of animation (and doing such a wonderful job of it.) The Union isn't in the animation business; it's in the negotiation and oversight business.

OK, I'll make note of that. See below.

: : Unions work to guarantee good wages for non-professionals.

: What? Who are these non-professionals the Union is working for? And if they're not being paid (after all, it isn't their profession!) what sort of wages are being guaranteed?

Are you just irritable today, Bruce? I just said "Unions work to guarantee good wages for non-professionals." By non-professionals, I'm not trying to insult animators. I'm saying they don't have degrees, like doctors, lawyers, dentists ... you know, what the business people call "professionals."

: :They would probably say they work on animators' behalf to mind the business aspect of the work, so animators can be free to enjoy the art of their work.

: No, the Union works to insure minimums in salary levels (levels at which almost no "professionals" are currently working -- thanks in part to the intervention of lawyers and agents in the negotiations, working salaries are much higher than the minimums.) They work to insure the continuity of benefits and to protect the rights of their members under the negotiated agreements.

Um ... Like I said, "they work on animators' behalf to mind the business aspect of the work, so animators can be free to enjoy the art of their work." How can you say, "no" to that?

: :If that's the case, they probably need to totally rethink what they're doing, because the industry in the 40's bears almost no resemblance to the industry in the 21st century.

: Since the Union is essentially a group of people working in the animation business, like you and me and many of the other people on this Board, I'd say it's up to US to rethink what we're doing. "They' are not going to do it for us.

: By the way, it was a grassroots movement within the Union that organized the KCET picket you've been promoting. It was animators, acting in a unified way, taking a stand and letting their voices be heard in concert. It may or may not do any good, but it's a start.

I think the Union's organization of this picket was and is a good move. Three cheers for the grassroot members who masterminded it. I will support it.

And those grassroots members need to do other things too. We can't accomplish anything in this industry without the leadership - or at least the cooperation - of the Union. There's no working around it - Lord knows I've tried.

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