Pi Day Reminder

Dear Readers and Friends,

As a friendly reminder, today is March 14th, or Pi Day. For the visual effects community, this is also the day to sign a rep card, to show solidarity and support for our community!

Dave Rand’s http://vfxunion.info page is the best place to start.

IATSE Launches a Web Site!

Ladies and gentlemen, may I have a drumroll, please.

IATSE International has formally launched a website for the Visual Effects community!

Please take a moment to visit, and forward to everyone who has questions about organizing.

http://vfx.iatse-intl.org/

This is great news. One of the major issues that VFX artists have taken with the union is the lack of a web presence. As a community, we really need an online reference that we can consult from time to time when questions need to be answered. In addition, the online presence gives artists the security and anonymity inherent with anything online.

Short term / Long term

While our goals for good jobs for all digital artists and personnel can be found on the about section, it’s worth noting some specifics on how this site tends to operate. In our current broken system, we acknowledge that not only will that not happen anytime soon, but the corporate, underbid & cut costs at all costs mindset is racing us as fast as possible in the other direction which will only continue to eviscerate jobs and untimely create a permanent underclass where workers are constantly push to subsistence level.

It took a long time to get us here and while it doesn’t have to, we know it will take a long time to get us out. Here are short term and long term steps that must be taken to correct. If you are reading this chances are not only do you care but are also a non-passive consumer of information. If you’re far enough along that path that you’ve had the inevitable realization that your industry is disappearing from North America (US first, Canada second) and have figured out its the artists that must rise up and fight for good jobs, here are short term as well as long term steps that must be taken. And by the way, the United States has done all of these things before.

Short term: (you and me)

-Educate those who have allowed themselves to absorb 1% mis-information. An example would be the person sitting two desks over from you who says things like ”If we unionize that will make our jobs go away.”

-Organize vfx artists. You spend your lunch hour reactively bitching about the company you work for. Move past that onto proactively standing together to support the group of those who agree so you can all function as a whole.

-Action. Social networking and blogging is useful in terms or organizing but nothing will really happen without physical action. This is what the Occupy movement is about and where we aim to head if others continue to show interest. Help us build a group of VFX soldiers by letting us know you know.

Long term: (you and me and the people pushing bottom up activism that changes the public knowledge to the point where the political will is there to make these things happen)

-Strong unionization or trade unionism. This create leverage and power. “if you don’t pay all of us overtime, all of us are going to walk out the door until you do.”

-Tariffs. The train has left the station and is not coming back. No matter how organized artists are, organization at the ground level is mainly useful for working conditions and quality of life but doesn’t have a direct correlation with outsourcing to lower paying countries or other regions will worst working conditions. A tarriff says, ”hey company trying to maximize profit at all costs, you’re welcome to send that work to India so you can pay a worker 10 cents when you would otherwise have to pay and American worker a dollar, but if you do, you’ll have to pay a 90 cent tarriff on that.” While we can’t do much about other nations offering extremely cheap labor, what we can do is penalize corporations that choose to exploit that pool of inexpensive labor. At the very least, we should close tax loopholes which allow companies to send jobs overseas and pay little to no corporate income tax.

-Punish bad behavior / Reward good behavior. If the political will is there to support the 99% before the 1%, we would have the opposite of what we have now which is currently providing tax incentives to actually send jobs away. A tent-pole example of this is why most films are not shot in California even though all the studios are based in California, which is because studios are currently rewarded for bad behavior of shooting them out of state or out of country rather than being rewarded for good behavior of shooting them right on their own sound stages in LA. This draws parallels at every level of politics and an extension in another area would be rewarding companies that invest in green energy and punish companies that pollute which is the opposite of what’s happening now. Mainly thanks to lobbyists in Washington for the 1% special intrests.

-Move towards a better system. This is an entirely other subject of course but there’s no reason we can’t have a system with less economic in-equality that puts people and the well being of the planet before profits.