Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Where is Equity?

As Keith Olbermann notes on FOK News Channel, when AFTRA -- "not the most belligerent nor plugged in of outfits" -- is stirred up, you know you've gone too far.

Welp, I've found someone yet milder, Mr. O.

In the Wisconsin conflagration, we have heard from every corner of the union movement in terms of news releases and messages to membership. I haven't heard much from my union, Actors' Equity, but I was able to dredge this up from their website, in the form of an open letter/monologue/diary entry from President Nick Wyman:
I can understand why Governor Walker and thousands of employers around the country would like to get rid of unions. They usually make employees more costly by negotiating salaries and benefits employees wouldn't be able to achieve on their own. They mandate work rules that not infrequently add to the costs of doing business. They limit flexibility by insisting on a say in or approval of changes in working conditions. We unions can be a pain in the butt.

Forgive me, however, if I shed no more than crocodile tears for the poor, put-upon employer. Unions exist to redress what is historically and consistently an imbalance of power between those who hire and those who do the work. We have moved beyond the most egregious abuses of the late 1800's - dehumanizing sweatshops with their if-you-don't-come-in-Sunday,-don't-come-in-Monday attitude - but the constant pressure to improve the bottom line leads to coal mining companies ignoring safety protocols and school districts putting sixty students in a class. The cards are still stacked in favor of management, and that disparity will only get worse as a result of the "Citizens United" ruling giving corporations the ability to give unlimited funds to candidates. Unions are the best and nearly the only
zzzzzzzzzzzz...hmm? Wuzzat?

Are you kidding me? We have the occupation by citizens of a public space for weeks on end, half a state legislature flees across state lines, phone stings where elected officials admit to totalitarian shenanigans, physical altercations between protesters and right-wing media, and the best my union president can do is come kind of mealy-mouthed history essay.

I have more vociferous debates WITH fellow union members ABOUT Equity. A clear existential crisis has galvanized the entire labor movement, and my union parks this shit on their homepage -- without even a red TAKE ACTION label, because, hey who cares about Wisconsin?


No comments:

Post a Comment