In Reality, Guild Looks to More Contracts, Agreements in 2006

by Tris Carpenter

Tris Carpenter.

The hard work is finally beginning to pay off.

This past November, IATSE/Editors Guild reached collective bargaining agreements with two companies that we successfully organized earlier in the year. Picture editors and their assistants on America’s Next Top Model, a primetime staple for UPN, will be enjoying the benefits of an IA contract. They are joined by the entire post-production staff at World Poker Tour Enterprises, who edit the very successful World Poker Tour (Travel Channel) and the upcoming Professional Poker Tour. Both crews will enjoy health insurance and retirement benefits through the Motion Picture Industry Plans.

Combined, the two contracts will cover nearly 40 employees, and stand as the latest mileposts in our aggressive effort to organize more reality television. The initiative has been extremely successful to date, with more than a few contracts, several ongoing negotiations and even more shows on the way. Most importantly, we have managed to bring most of primetime reality television into negotiations with the IATSE, including reality television giants Mark Burnett Productions and Endemol. Of course, there is plenty more to be done, and we hope the new year will be filled with more organizing wins.

Of course, the new year is also a time to look back. In trying to take stock of 2005, I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank some very important people. First and foremost, I’d like to acknowledge the individual men and women who signed cards with the IATSE on these shows, and who helped us organize and negotiate contracts. Without your help, none of this could have happened. The union simply cannot do it alone—we need your active and strong participation to get the best deal possible, and many people stepped up and did a fine job of leading their colleagues. Bravo!

These are not easy fights, and we will not win every battle. Overall, our members have done an excellent job in carrying forward the message that organizing with the IATSE is important.

Secondly, I’d like to publicly thank the two newest members of our organizing staff, Jesus Sanchez, organizing coordinator in our New York office, and Jennifer Madar, our new organizer here in our Los Angeles office. Jesus came aboard just as the True Entertainment campaign was taking off, and had to find his way through the IATSE system in the middle of an NLRB election. Since then, he’s helped build for a contract fight at True, and is investigating and exploring new organizing leads. Jennifer was instrumental in running the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition campaign, and did a spectacular job working with that crew to win a major victory in the face of a very nasty fight (see “Getting Organized,” Editors Guild Magazine NOV-DEC 05). She’s now working on several organizing leads here in LA. Hats off to both of them for jobs well done in such a short time!

Last but not least, I’d like to thank all of you who have supported our efforts, even if you were not directly involved in a campaign. These are not easy fights, and we will not win every battle. Overall, our members have done an excellent job in carrying forward the message that organizing with the IATSE is important to the well-being of our industry. While that may seem obvious, it’s not always the message that gets out amid the day-to-day issues we all have.

The fact that you have seen the bigger picture is very important for our Guild, and it helps our organizers in more ways than you might think. I hope you will keep that spirit alive, and look forward with us to more organizing in 2006.