So now the leadership of IATSE Local 700 has trotted out Paul Covington, one of the editor reps on the Motion Picture Editors Guild’s board of directors, to beg his colleagues to “Vote Yes” on the proposed IATSE-AMPTP contract. (Meanwhile Local 700’s propaganda to members keeps repeating the blatant bullshit that a “Vote No” is a vote to strike.) Here’s his (pathetic) argument:

Friends and Colleagues:

You should have received your ballots by now, and I want to urge you to vote yes on ratification.

I have seen many articles online that hint at some evil plot, or some malfeasance on our part, or that our representatives are naive, or openly declare the information we have been sending out from the IA and from our Guild is “bullshit” and “blatant lies” and so on. That’s the beauty of the Internet in that it allows people to shout their opinions without any reality seeping in.

Going into these negotiations, we had harsh realities to face. Everyone on the Board agreed that this deal is the best we could get under the circumstances. We discussed these things at length and voted unanimously to support it.

Everyone on the Board and at the Guild knows that these new rules regarding the 400 hours are going to hurt some people. The fact is that our Local will be affected less than the other Locals by this new provision. We will face about 7% of the people currently making their hours no longer be able to make them. This is a lower percentage than all of the other Locals.

That doesn’t mean we view these people as mere numbers. We are all worried about losing health care and finding work. Under the old system, we provided no-cost health care for people who worked under the IA contract only 25% of the time. Now that number is being increased to 30% of the time. Where else in America can you find a group that provides this?

The Editors Guild and the IA itself are only as strong as our members make it. We wish everyone was working union. We want all shows to be union shows and we want Hollywood to be the gold standard for filmmaking. If a lot of work out there is non-union, we need your help organizing it. Until that day when all production is governed by our Contracts, we will have a mixture of union and non-union work, and those who work predominantly non-union cannot be carried by those who do.

It’s really that simple. The Plans had a tremendous shortfall in money. They will become insolvent and go under if this Contract is voted down. I believe, and your Editors Guild Board of Directors believes, that voting down this Contract will be disastrous. Due to the nature of protracted negotiations, we will certainly be offered a worse deal than the one currently on the table, if the Contract is not approved. It will be worse.

Everyone on the Board believes this. We volunteer our time to be on the Board and to try and best represent you and your interests. We argue about the same issues you do. After careful consideration, we unanimously voted to recommend approval of the Contract to our members.

So now I urge you to vote in favor of ratification.

Paul Covington

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