Archive

Archive for May, 2010

Organized Labor in Post-Racial America: Where’s the Progress?

May 12, 2010 Leave a comment

The civil rights movement and the labor movement are inextricably intertwined because their goals were, and continue to be, essentially the same. 

Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez
United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
 

This year on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, during a speech to the AFL-CIO commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-ins, AAG Perez, the chief civil rights officer of the nation, reminded the gathering that Dr. King had once declared, “Our needs are identical with labor’s needs. Decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old‐age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children and respect in the community.” 
 
Perez speculated that if Dr. King were here today, “He would join with you, and with your fellow workers nationwide, in calling for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act to ensure workers can stand up for their rights in the workplace.” 
 
Civil Rights and the Labor Movement 
 
We know civil rights and the labor movements are intertwined, so why is African American membership in Local 600 no more that 1.7 percent according to a 2004 membership survey? 

I’ve been a union member for over three decades. I believe many of my fraternal brothers and sisters are truly revolted by expressions of white supremacy, misogyny, and sexism. I enjoy honest and deep friendships with union members that have stood strong over decades. Together, we have participated in work on set and still participate in activities outside of work. 

Some of my other fellow union members openly have made it clear that they harbor bigoted views. The best of them, however, see the benefit of leaving such divisive views at home. For them, the workplace is about the work before us and the skills people bring to the job. Thus, at work we all are able to achieve a common goal and prosper because of this “progressive” choice.    Read more…
Categories: Diversity, Progress?

California Corporate Law is Protecting Us Right Now

May 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Get an official email from the ICG recently?

The corporate dissolution campaign is continuing to heat up as the election winds to a close. Whether you know it or not, you and I are paying overtime to the Local staff to spend their weekend writing an official position paper about a members-only ballot referendum.

The issue is deceptively simple. Virtually every nonprofit in California is organized in the same way. Corporate law historically has been one of the great engines of prosperity in our society. Look at the chapter headings in the Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporations Law, California Corporations Code §§ 77110-8910 which defines and regulates directors (board members), managers, members, assets, mergers, files, records, voting, and the right of members to bring suit. The usefulness of this law for all nonprofits has been tested for over a century.

As I read it, your union leadership is upset because it was unable to quickly hold a video conference to discuss one computer contract over the last six decades. This worry about expense is noble, especially when linked to the shamefully expensive $1.2 million dollar system that, whenever it goes on line, will be little more than a database management system. This was an isolated problem of logistical planning, not corporate law. As a California corporation, the Local has operated its day-to-day business successfully over six decades, long before computers, long before voice mail, long before video conferencing.

No one on the Local staff is an attorney. Although they may play one on TV. I am not surprised they have misrepresented more than a few points of law. Here is my response:

(1) Federal law trumps state law. No one on the staff took Conflicts of Law, one of my stronger classes at The Law School, The University of Chicago where I received my Doctor of Law degree in 1991. Federal labor law rights have not and will not be taken away because the Local is a state corporation.    Read more…

An Attorney Says Members’ Rights at Risk

May 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Dear Fellow Local 600 Member,

Your elected union leadership and the final legal status of Local 600 will be decided next Friday, May 14th. I’m asking members to please vote in your union election. Ballots must be received by 11:59 PM this Thursday, May 13th. I’m strongly recommending a NO vote on corporate dissolution (AKA, “The Green-Ballot Measure”).

If membership authorizes the dissolution of Local 600’s non-profit mutual-benefit corporate status, then I assure you, that decision will be irreversible. The new association’s Articles of Association will be written to ensure permanence in perpetuity. You will never again regain the rights that you are now being asked to willingly surrender. Vote wisely.

VOTE “NO” ON CORPORATE DISSOLUTION! (AKA, “The Green-Ballot Measure”)

Below is an impartial legal opinion on the issue of corporate dissolution for your review.

Bill Roberts
1st Assistant Cameraman
WRC/NEB Alternate
Candidate for National Secretary-Treasurer



Dear Members of Local 600,


As an attorney who represents a variety of California nonprofit corporations and who does not work for or represent any of the unions affiliated with IATSE, I was asked by Bill Roberts, a candidate for National Secretary-Treasurer, for my views regarding the memo by Local 600 legal counsel David Adelstein supporting dissolution of Local 600 as a nonprofit corporation entity and its conversion to an unincorporated association.

·       Guaranteed membership rights. The legal guarantee of specific rights of membership to members of a California nonprofit corporation prevents the board of directors from ignoring members’ wishes on significant decisions including election of directors, sale or transfer of the assets of the corporation, merger or dissolution. Members retain the ultimate control over the leadership and direction of the corporation. Such broader and stronger rights are in addition to union members’ rights under federal law. Why give them up? Read more…

As Campaign 2010 Comes To A Close …

May 7, 2010 Leave a comment

We here at Viewfinder Redux have had a time of it. At first, we came together to write a few articles that might shed light on important issues facing our Union. We thought of ourselves as providing members with a place to explore independent opinions.

We are a diverse group. What ties us together is a belief in free and open dialogue. Each article has made the rounds. We have learned from each other as we hope you have learned from us.

From the outset, our writing has been closely monitored by Steven Poster and his hand-picked team on the electstevenposter site whomever they may be. The turnaround has been stunning. Within hours after we posted an article, our email boxes, and we assume yours as well, were filled with contentious and angry campaign literature from the Poster camp. Many of our writers were personally named and personally defamed.

As direct result of these unbridled attacks, readership for Viewfinder Redux increased by as much as 300% per day. Read more…

Categories: Election 2010

Be Aware!

May 7, 2010 Leave a comment

A new ethical low — desperate and extreme in it’s Karl Rove like approach — has been reached in the appeal to our members to vote against their best self-interests by dissolving Local 600’s California Non-Profit Corporate status.

The flyers and emails provided by Steven Poster cynically fail to provide you with all of the information that you, as members, should have been provided either at a meeting* or in printed materials.

* Brother Steven Poster only allowed approximately 25 minutes for Old and New Business at the recent Annual National Membership meeting, preventing members from bringing issues forward for discussion.

To make an informed vote, you need to know exactly what legal protections members currently have under the Corporations Code versus what they would have as members of an Unincorporated Association.    Read more…

Doug Hart Responds To Claims by electstevenposter.com

May 5, 2010 Leave a comment

On April 27, 2010, I read the following statements that were posted on electstevenposter.com, the website of president and candidate Steven Poster during this election campaign. It is time to set the record straight.

The bold italic text was posted on ElectStevenPoster.com.

The indented text contains  commentary by Doug Hart.

Who We Are, What We Stand For, and Why

Openness

· This Administration has held more Craft Meetings than any administration of Local 600, ever! We do that so that we can spend the time we need to get down to the real issues that our members need to see addressed.

Yes, but these Craft Meetings were ALL scheduled DURING the 2007 election, during the period between the mailing out of the ballots and the ballot return deadline. The meetings “conveniently” served as a campaigning opportunity for Poster & Gitlin, AT THE LOCAL’S EXPENSE. Read more…

“We Are A Union” by Haskell Wexler

May 4, 2010 1 comment

Ballots are out for local 600’s Union election.

Sorry … “Guild” ballots.

No so long ago, three regional locals combined to unite us, to make our Union stronger.

Yet our first National President, George Dibie, proclaimed us to be a Guild. A “classier” name, he said. Bruce Doering agreed and defended his 1/4 million dollar salary as being more appropriate for the executive director of a Guild — a title that would “encourage producers to give him respect.”

The new Guild — rather than incorporating the hard-fought gains enjoyed by the East Coast and Midwest locals — expended its capital to prove to producers that Guilds are nicer than Unions. Studios and mega-corporations are “our industry” and, to benefit them, we need to be “industry friendly”. Or so the story goes.

Just as pre-industrial guilds were organizations of craftsmen, existing solely to serve the feudal lords, our pretend “union” now exists to provide skilled workers to the industry under pay and conditions that may vary according to whatever is “in the budget”.    Read more…