|sent from: Esher, Surrey, UK. destination: Weybridge, Surrey, UK|
How will joining a union fix things? Wont it just make it harder for the vfx facilities to stay in business?
I’ve heard this a lot recently. A union wont fix everything. What a union can do is give you a seat at the table. It will give the collective energy and power of the vfx artists a place at the table. You will have what you do not have now – leverage. You may think you already have leverage – because your employer is a nice person, and you hang out occasionally so it seems they listen to you. You do not have leverage. The company you work for does not care about you in any meaningful way. This isn’t about sticking it to the facilities. This isn’t about getting at some vast store of gold that the facilities are hiding – we know that doesn’t exist. It’s about ensuring that when your employer is looking at the “lumpy” demand for work and facing new business challenges that their first (and at present only) answer isn’t to push all this onto the artists, to make you work harder for less pay. Uncompensated OT is working for less. It’s about leveraging our power into forcing the facilities, with your help, to come up with new solutions, new efficiencies. If it costs them money to turn around that new 11th hour change from the client, there’s an incentive for them to do something about that – even to the point of saying.. no!?
At present the true costs of doing business are hidden behind vast amounts of untracked and uncompensated OT. How can future work be bid accurately? If the facilities say – if we have to pay OT we will go out of business, what they are saying is – our business model is broken. In that case, I would argue, it’s time for a new business model. A union can’t give you a job, or guarantee you can keep yours when work slows. It can prevent you from being abused. We shouldn’t look at the problems of any solution and do the least bad. We can’t do nothing. A union offers us the chance to do the most good.