On Saturday, March 2 2013, RMA sponsored a panel on Organizing Employment: Working in the Entertainment Industry. The event featured an all-star cast of union professionals: SAG-AFTRA Assistant National Executive Directorof Sound Recordings Randy Himes, Teamsters Local 399 Business Agent and Organizer Steve Dayan, Writers Guild of America West Lead Organizer Melodie Shaw and our own AFM President Ray Hair.
The panel was moderated by RMA President Emeritus Phil Ayling, and covered a series of critical themes common to those of us employed in the entertainment industry.
One of the themes was precisely how much we share with the members of our sister unions. Like them, we are lucky to be in an industry that is more unionized than most in the U.S., an industry that provides many with the basics of a good middle class livelihood, including compensation, health care, pension and other benefits. Another significant theme involved both the benefit of and the deep need for mutual support between the unions and guilds, a recognition that we are stronger when we support each other. There was extensive discussion of why musicians depend on, and need to follow the lead of these adjacent unions.
The over-arching theme of the panel involved the need for that very sense of mutual support, common interest and long-term thinking by members themselves. Each of these experts talked about strategies for harnessing their own members knowledge and power to increase union jobs in Electronic Media.
The panel was followed by “Food Truck Night at Local 47”. The weather gods smiled, conversations flowed freely and good food and collegiality filled the parking lot and the auditorium at Local 47.
All photos courtesy of Linda Rapka