Home > Computer System, Steven Poster > Replies to Excerpts from Steven Poster’s Website

Replies to Excerpts from Steven Poster’s Website

April 20, 2010

These quotes (in red) are the three main “Bullet Points” from Steven Poster’s Blog homepage, bragging of his accomplishments since stealing the office of Local 600 Presidency in 2006.

The responses (in black) are mine.

Douglas C. Hart,

First Camera Assistant, Eastern Region

– In the past year we have held 27 hands-on training events across the Country – No other IA Local does that!

No other Local has had the technological changes in their craft, to NEED such training.

And every one of these Local 600 Training events has been used as much as a political campaign opportunity by the Poster administration, as it has been used to train our members.

First of all, President Poster makes these Training events seem like his original idea alone, when in fact, two past administrations also held Training events.   

Currently, a large, dedicated, hard-working National Training Committee of members from all Regions have put these events together, to make sure they run they way they should, and for the benefit of the Members, sometimes in spite of interference from Pres. Poster himself (such as before the 2009 Eastern Region Lighting Seminar, which Brother Poster tried repeatedly to cancel the event, and then showed up to take credit for what became one of our largest and most popular Seminars last year).

Brother Poster, Brother Gitlin and others from the Poster administration routinely insist on being in attendance to “chair” these events (despite the nearby presence of National Training Committee members and/or National Officers, who could “chair” at no additional expense to the Members).

Brother Poster’s and/or Brother Gitlin’s presence mostly means that they are there to ensure that exaggerated credit goes to Brother Poster for these events, and to announce that Brother Poster plans even more events for when he is re-elected.

Brother Poster’s and/or Brother Gitlin’s presence at these events adds little if anything to the events – they are not teaching, they are not really contributing anything useful, they are just there to campaign for re-election, and to make sure no other potential rival candidate gets that “free” (Local 600 funded) political opportunity to address voting members as a captive audience.

Of course, it also means that the Local (meaning the MEMBERS) has to pay for Brother Poster’s and Brother Gitlin’s obscenely expensive air tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, meals, etc., thousands of dollars unnecessarily wasted for each event  The NEB is told that these expenses DO NOT come from the Training Budget, but they still must be paid by the members, buried somewhere else in the Budget.

But the REAL reason Poster opens every letter, bulletin, article, statement and campaign with how great the Training events are, is that there is NOTHING else positive going on in Local 600, for him to brag about.

Production work is way down across the country, the national economy is worse than it has been for decades, Pres. Poster’s Feature and TV contracts are about to dump thousands of members and dependents OFF the Health Plan, with little chance of ever getting back on.

The Local is throwing away hundreds of thousands of dollars on overly expensive air tickets, hotels, “business meals,” and other unnecessary and ridiculous expenses, etc., for Staff and Officers, because there is NO effective or responsible oversight by ANYONE, regarding how our money is being squandered by the current Staff and Administration.

Most of the members don’t even know, for example, about our new nationwide computer system, or that a year and a half over schedule and is still not 100% ready, and over $600,000 over budget, costing the Local, so far, over $1.2 MILLION DOLLARS, and still climbing . . ..

· In the past year we have won over $300,000 in grievance settlements for our members!

Telling us there were NO ISSUES that had to go as far as “Grievance,” and that ALL members working under our contracts were properly paid and credited for their hard work, which is what our Staff is paid for, would actually be something to brag about.

Getting the money due our members back from Producers by going all the way to “Grievance,” is like putting band-aids on the 300 foot gash in the side of the Titanic, and expecting to make it to port.  It would have been much better and easier just to avoid the iceberg.

First of all, “Grievances” rarely, if ever, pay the full amount due our members, usually only 1/3 to 1/2 of what is due, and these payments take years to get, IF the Grievance wins (and assuming they are paid at all).  Grievances also don’t pay interest or penalties to our members, for the time that the Producers are “using” OUR money.

The time to make sure our members get paid properly, is DURING THE SHOOT, when something can be done immediately to get our members paid, such as confronting the Producer or even a work stoppage; not 2 or 3 years later, after an expensive arbitration battle.

Local 600 employs a large and well-paid staff of business agents and field reps, who need to be visiting sets nationwide, and/or calling our working members OFTEN, to make sure everything on their shoots are going according to the contract, that checks are arriving with all proper penalties and overtime, that proper hours are being contributed to MPIPHP, etc.

Despite the best efforts of our staff, don’t get me wrong, I certainly have NO specific complaints against ANY of our BAs or Field Reps, but too many issues fall between the cracks, or are ignored, or the conversation ends with, “We’ll just file a Grievance,” which only gives the Producers years of interest free time to pay up what they owe, and usually only about half of that.

Members also need to take a lot of the responsibility here, of course – for NOT calling the Local the INSTANT checks do not arrive, or when the checks do not include ALL penalties and overtime that they should contain, or when the proper number of hours worked are not paid into the Pension and Health Plans. Members’ reluctance to call in to the Local cannot be used as an excuse NOT to enforce the contracts.

Grievances should absolutely be the Local’s LAST RESORT for getting our members their money, not the first.  If the company has posted a bond for crew salaries, the staff must monitor these, to make sure they are sufficient to make up the Producers’ short payments, and these bonds should be used for what they were intended, as soon as it becomes known a contract violation has occurred, and then replenished by the Producers.

Bragging that, “We have won over $300,000 in Grievance settlements,” is just stupid, and much too late.  What this really means is that, “We have let the Producers steal at least $600,000 from our members, and we ONLY got back $300,000.”

· We created the Health care Task Force to make it easier for you to make your benefit hours – No other IA Local does that!

This is another band-aid on the Titanic, but only one of those little tiny ones, meant for children’s fingers.

No statistics have ever been released (gee, I wonder why) regarding how many members have retained their benefits, or how successful this “Task Force” plan has been. Given the lack of work nationwide, and the difficulty in achieving 300 hours each six months, let alone the coming 400 hours, I doubt that more than 50 members out of our 3000 uninsured members have meaningfully benefited from this purely-politically-motivated plan.

The phrase, “Let them eat cake!” comes to mind, and that is NOT the way a Union should be treating its members. Instead, it would have been nice to hear from the Poster administration how they had prevented the IATSE (AND the Producers) from gutting our Health plan, and throwing thousands of members and dependents OUT of the lifeboats and into the sharks, or at least that they had TRIED to do so.

But no, Pres. Poster’s Local 600 was only too happy to help the IATSE and the AMPTP decimate our Health Plan, at the expense of our members, and then claim a “Victory” for their 2009 Feature and TV Contract, and then lead the charge to “rubber-stamp” the ratification vote.

The time is long past for the Local to represent only the top-earning 20% of the Local membership, at the expense of the other 80% of us, even though we pay most of the bills for their extravagance, in the world’s 2nd most profitable industry (after Armaments).

WE have truly forgotten what a Labor Union should be about.

Outraged at how you are being manipulated by the Poster Administration?

You should be.

Vote NO on the “Green ballot !!!”

Fraternally,

Douglas C. Hart

Proud to be one of “those mal-contents” Brother Poster complains about
(I’m sure he will get around to mentioning us by name, as he did in the last election, with his “Blacklist”)
First Camera Assistant, 35 years
Currently serving as NEB member
Candidate for NEB Eastern Region & IATSE Convention Delegate
DCHart@aol.com
Phone 845-526-3934 or 917-923-9299

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