Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Be there or be square!

Reposted (with permission of the original poster) from our union's mailing list:

Stagehands Locked Out at LA Forum
Faithful Central Bible Church, the Forum's Owner, Won't Meet with Local 33

After more than two years of negotiations, Faithful
Central Bible Church's bargaining agent forced steep cuts on
Forum workers. Wages were cut more than 30 percent. Workable
hours were also slashed.

Not content, management then locked veteran stagehands
out of their jobs. These men and women, IA Local 33 members
eager to return to work, stand on the sidewalk as replacement
workers are brought in on church buses. In spite of its direct
involvement, the Church has tried to wash its hands of the dispute
and all of its unions, including Teamsters 42 and SEIU 1877.
Bishop Ulmer has yet to meet with these workers or their unions.

This afternoon I went down to the great western forum
and walked the picket line with our IATSE 33 brothers and sisters.
Although I missed it, Madonna crossed the line for rehersals
(Peggy's emphasis) for her upcoming concert.
This coming sunday, 21 May, the evening of the concert, Local 33 is organizing a huge rally and picket line from 5:30 PM-8:00PM. For more information on parking and details please go to their

Although I'm not stupid enough to assume that insanely wealthy celebs give a shit about me, unions or the working man's welfare in general, I'm really surprised that Bishop Ulmer - a so-called Christian - would do something like this.

Before I start getting hate mail (which I know I will), I have a completely biased outlook towards locking out workers and I'm not afraid to admit it.

I'll be there Sunday, and although I wish we lived in a world where this kind of stuff didn't happen, I gotta tell you that picket lines are fun. I get to be disruptive, yell insults at the people crossing the line (and yes, I'm looking forward to yelling at Madonna's limo) and shake my sign menacingly.

Although I know we'd all rather be home watching that wonderful Sunday night television, if you're in the Los Angeles area please do show up.

After all, how often do you get to yell at Madonna?


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peggy Archer said...

It was confusingly worded, and I apologize. It's been fixed now.

Anonymous said...

While I am not a member of IASTE, I have been a union member and have tremendous respect for unions. I'll do my best to be there on Sunday!


MIke80 said...

So if this isn't resolved, does this mean I have to sneak into the Pearl Jam concert in July? I believe Eddie Vedder trumps my IA card any day. Madonna, not so much.

Peggy Archer said...

Cassandra - I look forward to seeing you there!

Mike - From what I know of Pearl Jam, they'd probably move the concert if they found out about a labor dispute.
Can someone call the band's management and make sure the band knows about this?

Meg said...

Ah, picket lines. I picketed the Olsen Twins-they thought that Oxnard was too far from Hollywood to hire Union workers for one of their self produced films. They thought wrong. A long day in the hot sun, waving a picket sign at the Olsen Twins-fun AND productive.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification. I can totally agree that Bishop Ulmer is a so-called Christian. And you would think that a church would be looking out for the little guy and the working man.


First Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Just finished reading a book (The Disposable American) today that, among other things, discussed lockouts and, tangentially, how organized religion used to be against them on principle (back in the 80s).

Good book, and I don't think there was any sinister motive behind my mother-in-law giving it to me for my birthday as I look for work...

Gabe said...

I've read through your past posts and unless I've missed something I don't think you ever discussed actually joining the union... I doubt topic requests are your thing but could you elaborate on your work before joining and the process of becoming 725? I do grip work on independent stuff and eventually hope to weasle my way in to the Local 80.

On a side note - Ever work for a company called Global Asylum?

Worst. Company. Ever.

Anonymous said...

Haven't you seen how the church(s) is/are these days. No wonder they would not meet with the union. Another sad day, when the church, which is suppose to be helpful, ends up spitting on the little guy. I just hope that Pearl Jam, does the right thing, you know Madonna, only cares for Herself and for the Kabbalah. GO UNION!!

FrancesDanger said...

As management I know I should oppose Unions, but there is something to be said for making sure people are paid equal to the work they do. Plus Madonna pissies me off since she totally bit Peaches style.

Damn the Man, my sista!

ffaelan condragh said...

not wanting to bag on any hard working union stagehands, let me just say. i am a freelancer and hard worker but have had the union (iatse) try time again to come in a take my job. for every hard working union stagehand out there, there are four or five that give you a bad name. a friend of mine tried for years to join the union(he's a very skilled sound engineer and rigger.) so when the forum offered him a full time with bennys and vacation he leapt at the chance. i think the union has become bloated with some very lazy worthless individuals and their "hiring" procedures usually leave people without work for months on end. sorry if this offends hard working union members, its not pointed at you. i would only ask you to think about the union negotiators who fight so hard for your rights also are fighting for their jobs and usually end up stepping on some very hard workers.

Jed said...

As someone looking to get into the IA, but not yet there, I don't know if showing up would be tacky. On the one hand it seems this is a good way to get involved and learn more about getting in. On the other, networking and reconnaissance seem hypocritical and dishonest motivations for attendance. Unfortunately, an utter apathy toward yelling at madonna does little to serve as a tie-breaker in the decision. Those who have that card, feel free to weigh in.

-J said...

It's ok to milk off of celebs to gain you own status; after all, that's what they do.

After that though, I wouldn't define "work" as blogging, waving signs, getting in the news.

Work is pulling weeds, washing dishes, emptying bedpans, picking fruit...

Do something more with that fifteen minutes, all on your own.

Steve said...

I am surprised that you let that not so subtle anti-semetic remark at the top of the list slide by. Or am I just too thin skinned? Yea the Jews have a presence in the entertainment industry and they also helped found the unions, the ACLU, and the NAACP. To think that Madonna, by her association with the Kaballah Center, is a Jew and therefore more interested in money than anything else shows a lack of understanding of Kabbalah and Judiasm; and your own ignorance and bigotry. Madonna is no more a Jew than Henry Ford or the Pope.

Anonymous said...

to J.
Work is starting at 7 am at the loading dock, unload or load the trucks, sometimes 30 of them, put up the scenery, load the pipes and trusses with lights and sound equipment, counter weight them with 50 pound weights, pull 4/0 cable in 100 degree weather, or downpours. Hey! don't take off your 25 pound tool belt. Go home at midnight, see you tomorrow at 7.
Pulling weeds, washing dishes? Thats stuff is for threapy at home.
I am IA. I was picketing at the forum on May 21st. I will do it again!
We are not against Madonna, we did not pickett Madonna. We did hand out flyers, and if you rolled up your car windows so we could not give you a flyer, you remained ignorant to the facts.
Think about this. If you go to church at the Forum, you park for free. If you go to see Madonna its $25, limos were $75. There are 1000's of parking spaces there, and the profit goes to the venue owner's (church)pockets. We tried to send people to Hollywood park across the street to park for free. So you walked an extra 1/2 block? IT WAS FREE!
They denied busing in labor scabs until we showed them the pictures of the bus crossing the line. How stupid do they think we are? The CHURCH lied!
Next time you go to a gig try to pay attention to the money they're making OFF OF YOU at the little shirt sellers station! Buy it on line, its the same product and cheaper.
If I could talk Madonna into coming to my house I would not try to gouge the patrons.
As a professional stage hand for 30 years, I have seen what it's all about. Producers, (jewish or not) production companys, and even churches, all want the money! If I work a job for them, that means they have to pay out. Nobody likes to pay, but it's a fact of life.
Now think about the lights above you at the shows, or the truss spot operator above you. How did those things get there?
WE PUT THEM THERE, and we have been putting them there for the forum for almost 40 years. Not Madonna, producers, production companies, or even the churches.
They pay us to do that. We do it right, nothing fails.
Now they hire unskilled labor to put up these things. Whoa that's dangerous and the church will find out soon enough from the insurance company (if they have one)when their unskilled scabs start hurting themselves.
IATSE 33 has been around over 100 years! We know what were doing and we are the best at it.
We work at the Kodak, Greek, Hollywood Bowl, Pantages, CBS, ABC, NBC, Los Angeles Music Center, Staples Center, full time! So are they wrong or are they aware of who and what we do? they hire us all the time! Everytime you see a show from one of these places Local 33 had a major part in it's presentation. We do it all, from AMERICAN IDOL, to THE PRICE IS RIGHT. My resume is the T.V. Guide, and all the major venues in L.A.
It's our livelyhood, and the Churh who owns the Forum is as ignorant to the importance of our Safety record as the people who roll up their windows when I want to give them a flyer.

Peggy Archer said...

Steve: You're not too thin-skinned. Comment's gone.

If I check comments on my cell phone, I can only read the first part, so that last remark slipped by me.

Anonymous said...

As of yesterday's meeting of the LA County Federation of Labor, it was "looking optimistic" that Pearl Jam would honor the Forum picket line.