by Alan Heim, ACE
Brothers and Sisters,
I wish you all a Happy New Year and want to say a little about what’s been going on at our Guild and what we are looking forward to in the year ahead.
Last year our great organizing team of Rob Callahan and Preston Johnson was successful in organizing Vice Media. We negotiated a card check agreement, and the Guild was certified as the bargaining agent. Our National Executive Director Cathy Repola is currently negotiating a first contract for about 200 members. This will bring our national membership roll up to nearly 8,000.
More members attended our annual meetings on both coasts than have come in years (I hope it wasn’t the beer tasting alone!) and, apart from Board of Directors nominations, a long and lively discussion of working conditions occurred. Many more members signed up to attend our special events — so many, in fact, that we are looking at ways to increase participation even more with simpler sign-up methods and roomier venues.
In a similar vein, more of you voted last year than in 2016 — 19 percent as opposed to 14 percent. Not a great turnout since no members had to leave their house, but it is a positive sign. This resulted in many new faces on the Board, and I look forward to working with them all. We are your Guild, and we need your input to respond to your needs. To get more members involved, we intend to send out short surveys to the membership throughout the year. I urge you to watch your e-mails and please respond.
In a couple of months, we will be entering into negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for a new contract, and we intend to focus on an area about which we’ve had many complaints: long hours and consecutive work days in editorial. In addition, we will work on continuing to shore up our pension and health plans.
Shortly, the Guild will be sending out a survey to our picture editorial members, the results of which we will rely upon during negotiations. Please be on the lookout for that in your inbox and reply ASAP.