Spring 2015

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12 CINEMONTAGE / SPRING 2015 by A.J. Catoline I n its campaign to organize non-union employers, the Editors Guild has many tools and tactics. In some instances, employees withhold their labor in order to convince non-union employers to agree to union deals. Our "recognition strikes" — job actions to bring non-union employers to the bargaining table — generally do not last long, although during a recent protracted walkout, the Guild dusted off an old playbook in order to aid those who lost wages: a Strike Relief Fund. Last fall, the post crew of the Bravo reality series Shahs of Sunset demanded union representation and an IATSE contract, and shut down work on the show when the employer failed to respond. What distinguished the Shahs strike from other such actions was its length. It became the longest post-led strike in recent history at exactly 30 days — September 10 to October 10. The job action manifested itself not only as sidewalk picket lines in front of Bravo's offices, parent company NBCUniversal and production entity Ryan Seacrest Productions in LA during a record heat wave, but also turned up the temperature outside the first two companies' corporate headquarters at Rockefeller Center in New York. When the strike began with 16 editors and assistant editors — some Guild members and some not — deciding they wanted the same health-care and pension benefits afforded to their colleagues working in scripted television and other post- production areas of the industry, the mood was optimistic, recalls picture editor Mark Bement, a member of the striking crew. Although aware that striking entails uncertainties and risks, the Shahs crew of course had hoped their strike would yield immediate results. "A month earlier, the Survivor strike lasted less than a day," Bement says. "We were hoping for a similar quick resolution for a contract." The Guild's National Organizer, Rob Callahan, remembers the speed with which Survivor, having run more than 20 seasons without being covered by an IATSE contract, finally signed a deal with the post crew who courageously walked off the job. "Most of our recognition strikes, whether prosecuted in coordination with our sister IATSE locals or whether led by post crews, are very short," he says. "A lot of MEMBERSHIP OUTREACH The Guild Strikes a Note of Support for Members, Non-Members Alike Picketers outside the offices of Ryan Seacrest Productions in Los Angeles. Photo by Vanessa Holtgrewe CONTINUED ON PAGE 14

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