Local 706 - The Artisan

Fall 2018

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74 • THE ARTISAN FALL 2018 B Y C A S S I E L Y O N S | M A K E - U P A R T I S T YOUNG WORKERS CONFERENCE REPORT Claire Alexandra Doyle (right) September 17-20, I attended the IATSE Young Workers Conference in Silver Spring, Md. (I grew up just a few miles away). We joined over 100 IATSE members 35 and under (I'm 36 but have been union under five years) from around the United States and Canada for four days of education, collaboration and networking with union brothers and sisters. I am sharing the highlights as thanks, but also to encourage the Executive Board and Board of Trustees to send two new Young Workers to the next conference in 2020. We opened with an exercise with everybody in attendance introducing themselves and sharing how they are involved politically, how they are involved with their union, and whether they are socially active. It was awesome to see how many of us vote every election, are aware of who our local congressmen are (and if you didn't know, they had us google it right then and there), and how many regularly volunteer their time to various causes, including protesting at the women's march, food drives, fundraising events, etc. The other opening topic to kick off the conference was the importance of finding your story and the issues relevant to you in your life. Knowing your story, where you come from and what challenges affect you, help discover the things that you want to fight for. Joining the union isn't just about the work. It's about being a part of a community of artists that are actively taking charge to get involved, stay educated, help others, work safely to make TV/film magic for the world to see, and then one day retire with dignity. This energetic opening set the pace for a positive and educational conference. They gave us tips on how to foster dialogue to generate support for causes that are important to you. The conference started with a class on the history of IATSE and a breakdown of membership. Twenty-five percent of IATSE membership is 35 and under. Thirty percent of the IA is film and television crafts, while the remaining seventy percent is stage craft and trade show/concert workers. It was a real eye opener hearing that we were the minority of IATSE membership! We all had a good chuckle when learning that once Canada joined in the alliance, we were no longer national but now international. IATSE indeed sounds much better than NATSE. Next up was our history class, starting with the founding in 1893, to our first studio contract in 1926, 1937 when we joined the IA with our make-up brothers and hair stylist sisters, and landing at 2004 with the election of our current president Matthew Loeb, who we got to meet with during the conference. We spun off into union officials and local politics, covering union card stamps, General Executive Boards and more. I learned that any member in good standing could attend a GEB as an observer—I would like to see young workers take an interest in these meetings and use new technology to generate more member involvement. Organizing nonunion projects was also covered, the IA reps spoke on "Salting," the practice of putting a strong union member on a nonunion show to help flip the production or theater. I can definitely say that this piqued my interest since so many of my nonunion artist friends are still unclear on how to support trying to get a show to flip. We can get training on this and it sounded very interesting. Speaking of training, COMET training was another option for union politics-related training. There was a class on copyright laws and piracy taught by our local IA rep Allison Smart. We went over fair use laws, basic copyright laws and why piracy is bad news for all IATSE members. In political training with Erika Dinkel-Smith, we learned how to make our vote count by supporting officials that are pro-union. We did exercises on speaking with family, friends and strangers about unions and why they matter. IA reps showed some scary anti-union legislation and the elected officials that would like to do away with us entirely. We learned about the political resources we have at the IA and how members can volunteer their time to fight for union labor rights (phone banking, particularly calling members on our retiree list). More ways to help were signing up for IATSE relief staff positions, donating to the PAC fund to support our candidates or even hosting a raffle to benefit it. I'm still taking in all the things I learned, the new friends made and the connections with our IATSE officials on both coasts. I connected with these new friends through Instagram and on the Young Workers Facebook page and have a follow-up call scheduled for next week with a Young Workers Committee member from the IATSE West Coast office. It was invaluable as a union member and I look forward to continuing my training and education efforts. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to attend this conference and I am very excited to continue and follow through on the goals that they had us write down for ourselves at the end. We wrote them down and filled out self-addressed envelopes and just recently got the letter in the mail. In it I wrote that I had a goal to unite the various locals in my Long Beach area and get us all involved in volunteering for Meals on Wheels and at the VA hospital. Or at least link up with any other locals in my area that already are active in the community. •

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