Home > Local 600 Governance, Real Labor Union > Local 600: Totalitarian Uniformity or Democratic Unity

Local 600: Totalitarian Uniformity or Democratic Unity

written by Kristin Glover

Dear Members,

Below is a statement I made at our March 12th – once a year – membership meeting. In rereading the notes I’d jotted down before speaking that day, I find that I had quite a bit of clarity about how I see our union and, in particular, our National Executive Board and those who run the union.

So, I am posting this on Viewfinder Redux, where members can read “alternative views” and I am sending it to the entire board, prior to our upcoming meeting, in hopes of stimulating a more open dialogue.

March 12, 2011.

Food for Thought

One of our “weaknesses” was described (by President Poster) as “arguing amongst our selves”. Translation: “debate is strongly discouraged and will be cut off as soon as possible.”

If the union leadership requires unquestioning allegiance by all and unquestioning acceptance of all of their plans, ideas, etc., then they tread into the dangerous ground of becoming a kind of dictatorship – even if it’s meant to be benevolent. 

Over many years now – in 659, in 600, and in the IATSE, the misguided concept of union unity through acquiescence to the top has been perpetrated upon our union members, our executive boards and regional councils. Those who’ve dared to have a contrary opinion – or to attempt to use the democratic process to protest what they see to be undemocratic, are portrayed as “anti-union troublemakers”.

This flies in the face of real and true democratic unionism and an authentic democratic process, and contradicts what the founding principles of our country stand for.

IF our leadership truly wants increased member participation in our union, we need more than one membership meeting a year – a meeting so poorly attended by less than 100 members out of 6000 because members know that their active participation in the governance of our union is not really welcome.

Our leadership needs to let the members know that their unvarnished and authentic opinions are welcome – no matter what they might think – even if it disagrees with the leadership’s POV.

Members do not participate in the real governance of our union because they know that the political atmosphere in Local 600 is, in essence, totalitarian.

Having a more truly democratic union, where members are truly encouraged and free to fully participate without fear of reprisal for the honest expression of their opinions, can only strengthen our union.


Kristin Glover

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