REALITY CHECK: Our Video Caucus Meeting
We’ve created an important forum. The Video Caucus establishes opportunity for dynamic discussion between members and the leadership about what is happening in the real world of our video members. Led by our Vice President and Video Engineer, Jillian Arnold, and other Board members, we will continue to schedule this type of town hall meeting on a regular basis. It’s instrumental in keeping the lines of communication open and keeping our support technique for members relevant.
For me, this is a solidarity moment. We should pause, review, and compare our personal experiences in our professional environments.
Quite a few attendees to the meeting described non-reporting of contract violations in our workplaces by our members. Roughly, three types of explanations came up in the conversation.
1. Fear of employer reprisal
2. Unawareness of what is a violation
3. More significantly, what to do if members do witness a contract violation
This implies that for some of our members, there may be a misunderstanding of the mutual relationship between all of us as stakeholders in our local union.
As I see it, we all enter into a partnership with each other when we are sworn into membership. It’s a contract we commit to in good faith and it really goes to the heart of what a union should and can be…
It’s not a top-down thing, but a joining of enlightened self-interest. It is a bond of trust that we share and benefit from. And like all commitments, it carries some basic responsibilities.
This short but important checklist has helped me over the years:
Meet and know our union representatives. Call them up and say hello. They’re as passionate about their work as you are about yours. Don’t wait for some crisis to establish awareness of the team supporting you.
Like other items in your kit, reading the manuals is the doorway to mastering their operation. Read the contracts you’re working under. Read our Constitution and By-laws and know your rights and how your union functions.
Most importantly, if you don’t know the answer, ask someone who does. Speak up when it counts!
This is a street thing, not a lip-service thing.
What we can be saying to each other if we see any violation is, call it in to the Local with the confidence that you are doing so in privacy. You are part of a system of protecting yourself by protecting each other. You have trained professionals working for you at the union, at the ready to engage in securing your work jurisdiction when violated and can do so without placing you at risk. It’s their job and they’re good at it. But they cannot perform without the information you must provide.
Expand your thinking of this concept to remember that you’re part of the whole Local 695 unit. This means if you’re in sound, you’re also part of the video team and if you’re in video, you’re part of the sound team. No walls between you when it comes to the jurisdiction won by contract negotiations. We all want to be certain that Local 695 members perform 695 work. It is what puts food on your table, a roof over your head, and pays the doctor bills.
So … sound sisters and brothers, please don’t ignore video playback violations by non-Local 695 members when you see it. We are all affected by ignoring these things and the next wave of “I can do your job” won’t be isolated to any single classification. By saying nothing, we erode the ground we all stand on. And video sisters and brothers, resist that sense of isolation you may feel and reach out to your sound colleagues when you are stressed or at risk. Please team up when you can.
When you let us know what is happening, you become the essential part of the solution.
Thank you for listening.
E pluribus unum!
Mark Ulano CAS AMPS
IATSE Local 695