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Hollywood preps for Teamsters walkout


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#1 Tim Tyler

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 02:24 PM

http://www.hollywood...616ea77291c3168

The transportation union's talks with Hollywood studios involve proposals for a new two- or three-year contract but have hit an impasse over money terms. The Teamsters want annual raises of 3%; management is offering 2% yearly boosts. The studios would prefer a three-year deal but are offering two years at the union's request, which would allow the Teamsters to synch up their contract expiration with IATSE's. That, in turn, would give the Teamsters more input into contract matters affecting the pension and health plan that covers members of both unions.

Full Story here and here.
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#2 Tom Lowe

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 04:44 PM

Are these the same Teamsters who hold productions hostage here and force them to pay $1,500 a day for passenger van drivers? I know plenty of out-of-work blue collar people who would take those same jobs for $150 a day.

These guys should not be asking for raises, they should be taking massive pay cuts if we want to bring production back to LA and California.
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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 10:05 PM

Tom, are you an idiot? (Admin Edit)

$150 is less than $10/hr BEFORE taxes and Union dues with a 16 hour day. I assume that is at or below the average for a workday for a Teamster, considering they have to drive to and from the location in addition to work during the day.


Maybe you are fine with living in your parents' basement, (Admin Edit) but I doubt that is a sensible solution for someone raising three children and supporting a stay-at-home wife.

Even $20/hr. would barely pay the bills in California, unless you are sharing an apartment with two other families.



The point is that Unions PREVENT the sort of undercutting that economically ignorant hobbyists or fanboys such as yourself employ to turn arts such as ours into jobs that only guys or gals whose significant others pay the bills can afford to engage in.

How can artists and craftsmen be retained and do good work for forty years if they are making $10/hr. throughout? Get educated on BASIC LIVING WAGES before you post here again, OK? This isn't "getting paid $75/hr. to screw in a bolt," I assure you.




I read the article, Tim about Local #399, Tim, but have to admit I am ignorant to the jurisdiction of that Union. Is this going to affect the East Coast, Chicago, and Miami areas as well, or is this something confined to the Teamsters in Hollywood?
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#4 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 12:00 AM

$150 is less than $10/hr BEFORE taxes and Union dues with a 16 hour day. I assume that is at or below the average for a workday for a Teamster, considering they have to drive to and from the location in addition to work during the day.



Hey listen, if you can't get by with minimum wage, that is YOUR problem. You should have thought about that before being born in a "capitalist" country, man. My shareholders and investors need to save as much money while maximizing their future returns. I mean, what is this, a SOCIALIST country or something? What, do you want health care too? And what the hell you mean I have to pay taxes to the government? I thought the country paid for all infrastructure I demand to properly conduct business with Monopoly money. JEEEEEEEEESUS What is this country coming to? Next you are going to tell me that I need to pay for my meals at a restaurant or something like that!!!!! :rolleyes:
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#5 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 12:13 AM

I read the article, Tim about Local #399, Tim, but have to admit I am ignorant to the jurisdiction of that Union. Is this going to affect the East Coast, Chicago, and Miami areas as well, or is this something confined to the Teamsters in Hollywood?



Teasmters Local 399 is So Cal mostly, though a lot of their drivers travel to other locals if the movie's equipment trucks come from LA. That happens here in NM a lot. I'd say, at least 1/3 the transpo staff is from LA for any given NM film production.

http://www.ht399.org/
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 01:13 AM

Okey Dokey, do you guys want to start placing those orders for Canadian shows now then? Like you always do when one of the unions goes on strike in the US and shuts down production. A lot of Canadian product ended up on US TV during the writers strike, I guess that's scab television?

Here are some great choices you might consider, just e-mail me your orders:

http://www.cbc.ca/pr...gram/22_minutes

http://www.cbc.ca/pr...e_prairie_hd_dv
(yes this show is for real)

http://www.cbc.ca/pr...ndland_labrador

http://www.cbc.ca/pr...incial_election
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#7 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 01:59 AM

Little Mosque on Ground Zero, anyone? Quick, call Sarah Palin, it is time to refudiate, just like Shakespeare would have, if he had any sense. :blink:
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#8 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 02:11 AM

These guys should not be asking for raises, they should be taking massive pay cuts if we want to bring production back to LA and California.


Yeah. Me, I help the economy by working for free. See, I got tired of being constantly outbid on projects because I wasn't competitive with Chinese and East Indian labor. So now I do it for free, just because I love doing it so much and employers really deserve to make some OUTRAGEOUS profits. But that is OK, because I don't deserve making a living wage. Soon, when the rest of my fellow film technicians employ my strategy, I will be paying for the honor of working on movie projects. <_<

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 22 July 2010 - 02:14 AM.

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#9 Tom Lowe

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 12:13 PM

Getting paid $1,500 a day to drive a van is a "living wage"? You must be joking. We have teachers making 1/10th that amount. And they have college degrees. How about the millions of unemployed former professionals out there who are making lattes at Starbucks right now for $7.50 an hour? They would kill to get a job driving a van for 1/5th the amount of money these "Teamsters" are demanding.

People should be paid according to the value of what they do in a free market. If you are John Toll, ASC, you should be paid well, because you are contributing a lot of value to the picture. Toll has very specialized skills. If your job is driving a van and the director could easily walk onto any street corner and grab a random person who could step right in and do your job with little to no training, you should not be making more money than a brain surgeon.

And then you guys wonder why productions are fleeing Los Angeles and the United States?
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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 12:33 PM

I'm always on the fence with this stuff, on the one hand I know that unions really help out people in the unions and help to ensure a good wage for a good job and gives some safety nets. On the other hand, unions too fall victim to the same greed which they are trying to prevent, by sometimes asking for too much (I live in Phila, and if you ever have to deal with SEPTA, you know what I mean). All I'll say is here's hoping they get to some amicable agreement between the two of them without the sword rattling turning into a prolonged strike...
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#11 John Sprung

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 01:27 PM

Okey Dokey, do you guys want to start placing those orders for Canadian shows now then?


Yeah, actually, I really would like to see an episode of LMOP. I wonder if the networks might try to pull up some cable hits. It would be ironic if what filled in was "Ice Road Truckers".





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#12 Richard Boddington

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 01:30 PM

if you ever have to deal with SEPTA, you know what I mean).


No one wants a strike of course.

Adrian, Philly must be legendary...I hear from other producers that the one state you never want to shoot in is PA because the unions will literally kill your production. So I guess PA needs to do some PR work on that if they want to attract work to the state.

One US state that is totally union free and getting a lot of attention is Utah. You can shoot non-union there no matter what the budget and have no issues at all. The Mormon church shoots a lot of video and film product there and their shoots are non-union. I would love to see to unions try and move into Utah and take on the Mormon church on their own turf, that would be an epic battle the unions could never possibly win.

R,
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#13 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 01:32 PM

Honestly, I haven't heard that too much so, but then again, I stick to non-union shoots 'round here. Bigger shows are all NY union which has jurisdiction over us iirc, and of course the local trade unions are a beast all onto themselves; SEPTA is just our mass transit which'll shut down the whole city every 6 years or so.
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#14 Richard Boddington

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 01:40 PM

Honestly, I haven't heard that too much so, but then again, I stick to non-union shoots 'round here. Bigger shows are all NY union which has jurisdiction over us iirc, and of course the local trade unions are a beast all onto themselves; SEPTA is just our mass transit which'll shut down the whole city every 6 years or so.


As some one who has personally signed a lot of cheques to the unions I can tell you all that they can make your life very difficult and very expensive.

You can all spare me the, "but unions are needed to protect workers" BS. This is Canada for Pete's Sake not Bangladesh, people here have plenty of employment and work place protections with or without the unions.

R,
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#15 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 01:48 PM

Yet one more reason, Richard, why I have no want to Direct and/or produce ;)
Btw, ne word on Dogfather? I keep meaning to pick up your first film too but always forget to when I go to FYE. Keep up the work!
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#16 Richard Boddington

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 01:55 PM

Yet one more reason, Richard, why I have no want to Direct and/or produce ;)
Btw, ne word on Dogfather? I keep meaning to pick up your first film too but always forget to when I go to FYE. Keep up the work!


Dogfather has done well in sales, once the ink is totally dry on the contracts I can tell everyone what's up. Those that care any way ;)

If you want a copy of Dark Reprieve just PM me your address and I'll drop one in the snail mail for you.

R,
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#17 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 06:00 PM

Getting paid $1,500 a day to drive a van is a "living wage"? You must be joking. We have teachers making 1/10th that amount. And they have college degrees. How about the millions of unemployed former professionals out there who are making lattes at Starbucks right now for $7.50 an hour? They would kill to get a job driving a van for 1/5th the amount of money these "Teamsters" are demanding.

People should be paid according to the value of what they do in a free market.



You are mixing apples and oranges. See, what people not familiar with the nature of this industry don't realize is that most drivers, or DPs for that matter, do not work every day of the year, or even close. So $1,500 a day for a couple of months (60 days is the standard length of your average film production), and then nothing for a month, or six, or more is not cakewalk. Teachers, on the other hand, work 40 hrs a week --if full time-- every week (except for summer vacations and holidays, for which they get paid for).

Of course, most producers (and employers) do not want to pay the premium to have those people available when they need them, until they really do need them. But since they are generally available in great numbers, then the perceived value is greatly diminished.

And this is the similar failed argument that Meg Whitman is making in CA with the state unions, (and every CEO out there, for that matter). The idea seems to be this:

"Yes, you (state workers) provide essential services we couldn't do without, but we (taxpayers) just don't think that what you need in compensation for performing those services is accurate. It has to be done much cheaper, because we really don't want to pay higher taxes to give you what you think you deserve for your services. You work for us, and we expect you to be at the ready when we need you, but we also know how much that is worth in dollars and cents, and it is not very much."

It is the same at federal level. Everyone wants premium government services and infrastructure, education, etc but no one wants to pay its real price. Thus the government is forced to borrow to cover the difference and we know where things are headed now. What is amazing is that everyone is still convinced that tax cuts are needed, that the gov't is still too bloated, but as long as one's entitlements are untouched, costs need to be shaved off elsewhere. :blink:

So this notion that (film production) union members are somehow evil for engaging in collective bargaining to make sure their needs are met is, well, insane at best.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 22 July 2010 - 06:04 PM.

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#18 Richard Boddington

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 07:57 PM

You are mixing apples and oranges. See, what people not familiar with the nature of this industry don't realize is that most drivers, or DPs for that matter, do not work every day of the year, or even close. So $1,500 a day for a couple of months (60 days is the standard length of your average film production), and then nothing for a month, or six, or more is not cakewalk. Teachers, on the other hand, work 40 hrs a week --if full time-- every week (except for summer vacations and holidays, for which they get paid for).


Gee Saul not sure your, film workers only work six months a year so they need double the pay when they do work, argument will hold up with many people.

A director may go 4-6 years between movies, are you in favour of directors earning enough money to last them through these long stretches as well?

What about actors? They might even have to wait even longer before they are on set again.

As people who work in film we all accept that the work is sporadic and freelance, we are not working 52 weeks every year on salary with three weeks vacation.

I really don't think it's job of the studios to try and "fix" this problem. If people want a steady income then they need to leave film and get a steady M-F 9-5 job like 90% of the population.

R,
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#19 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 09:02 PM

Gee Saul not sure your, film workers only work six months a year so they need double the pay when they do work, argument will hold up with many people.

A director may go 4-6 years between movies, are you in favour of directors earning enough money to last them through these long stretches as well?

What about actors? They might even have to wait even longer before they are on set again.

As people who work in film we all accept that the work is sporadic and freelance, we are not working 52 weeks every year on salary with three weeks vacation.

I really don't think it's job of the studios to try and "fix" this problem. If people want a steady income then they need to leave film and get a steady M-F 9-5 job like 90% of the population.

R,



The point is that the workers need to be available to work on a show. While $1,500 a day is extremely high, in order to survive film workers need to save what they make during the high times. That is just a reality. Those who don't save at least a portion of their wages don't last too long in this industry, that I know of.

Teachers have been used as an example, although I think it is not a perfect analogy, they get paid for the summertime, when they don't work. Otherwise there would be no teachers at the beginning of the fall because they all needed other jobs. If they can't collectively bargain their wages successfully, that is another problem.

All I am saying is, a producer or studio needs to take into account the workers' needs too, because they both need each other. The current trend here is for the investors to reap the majority of the rewards. But without the workers, the investors are screwed, and viceversa. So there is a middle point where both groups win.

It may no be perfect, but it sure beats pure Capitalism and pure Socialism. That is why the US and Canada are mixed economies. In fact, in this day and age a purely Capitalist society does not truly exist, but do not tell that to the Tea Party and conservatives.

http://en.wikipedia....i/Mixed_economy

People do not realize that unions are responsible for the 40 hr work week among many other things. Sure there have been many abuses, but it is disingenuous to simply say "Not my problem," and move on to dismiss collective bargaining as the "great ill" that affects the world.

A producer may not want to pay what the union asks, maybe trying to run by themselves would make it easier. As long as they need people to man their show, and they are unionized, the producers will need to reckon with their bargaining power. Again, the producers may not like it, but if they can't run the entire show themselves, or move to a non union locale, they have to deal with unions.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 22 July 2010 - 09:06 PM.

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#20 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 09:09 PM

Should read:

the show[/u] by themselves would make it easier. As long as they need people to man their show, and they are unionized, the producers will need to reckon with their bargaining power. Again, the producers may not like it, but if they can't run the entire show themselves, or move to a non union locale, they have to deal with unions.


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