We’re witnessing a surge in organizing as evidenced by many successful outcomes. The community is watching and we have been at the forefront of this development. To me, this is very important as it underlines the essential nature of the crafts we collectively supply the industry. Without sound and video engineering, production cannot occur.
It’s especially interesting to see the large uptick in successful organizing of the ultra-low budget projects and reality television. The working rank-and-file crewing these shows have been acting on their wish to gain the benefits of collective bargaining and union representation.
A standout example of this awakening took place on a reality TV show called Broken Skull Challenge. This show became a battle zone over the workers’ desire for better terms and conditions. The employer pushed back hard, refused to negotiate after a legal crew election had taken place and were declared an unfair employer by International President Loeb. A full-blown strike ensued, with simultaneous picket lines in three Los Angeles locations. It got pretty ugly with the employer attempting to replace everyone.
Local 695 took up the charge to support the five-man sound crew honoring the picket line. These guys are real heroes. Lead by their department head, Doc Justice, and his crew, Jason Wells, Kenny Beane, Jim Gomes and Reese Wexler. They never faltered. They understood the risk and the weight of their commitment.
As Doc Justice said, “We know that all strikes are tough on the crew, and we know that this strike is more difficult than most. Through all of the nasty displays of posturing that production has displayed, we have all strengthened our belief that this is a fight worth fighting. In time, we’ll detail all of the efforts made against us, but for now, know that I’m proud to fight with the support of my crew, and the support of my Local. We will continue to Hold for Audio, and Fight for Justice. Thank you all.”
I’ll revive an old affirmation: Right-on!
When these guys took a stand, Local 695 made it a first priority to man the drive in support of the job action. At Business Rep Scott Bernard’s direction, Laurence Abrams and Joe Aredas Jr. established a 24/7 command post, calling out the troops to show up, in real numbers every day. They called on our Social Media Committee Chairman, Chris Howland, and Director Devendra Cleary CAS to work their networking skills to the max and the membership responded beautifully. There were many days when Local 695 alone was providing 70% to 80% of the members on the picket lines, as we coordinated closely with the West Coast Office leadership of Vanessa Holtgrewe and Steve Aredas.
We have proudly risen as a “Go-to” Local when it comes to delivering a focused organizing campaign. We are stakeholders in this organization. Our stock rises and falls in direct proportion to the participation we contribute. Thanks for showing up. L695 solidarity is being noticed broadly. Keep it up!
Mark Ulano CAS, AMPS
Local 695 President