Union or not?
I'm finally union eligible, and have everything I need including the $3100 to join the Editors Guild. But before I drop this amount, I'm having a few doubts, mainly because I could use a new Mac Pro instead...
So, are you Guild? Is it essential to join if you want to further your career? What are your experiences?
It's not a good idea unless you are a film editor. Many studios hire only union crews A-Z for feature films. If working in Hollywood, I suggest it. If you are a video editor, man you'll be cutting your income into a small fraction by going union. Forget the dues, I'm talking set hourly rates alone. Here, union editors get about 25 bucks an hour. Freelancers are closer to 75 an hour. To pay to be limited... kind of wack in my eyes.
The only reason to join the union is if you are going to get hired by a union show. No point joining before, because the union doesn't do squat to find you work. I'm a union member, but I haven't worked on a union show for 3 years, so I am on "honorary withdrawl." Meaning I don't pay dues, and if I want to go back, I have to pay all my back dues for up to a year.
So...wait until a union show wants to hire you...then join. If it is worth while.
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Depends on your situation and your location. I am a union editor in NYC at a network. I made more cash editing in the Post House world but had very few benefits. With OT, I make close to what I was making cashwise, but close to double with the real value of the benefits. A major concern these days. As a freelancer if you need the card to work on the type of gigs you want then you need a card, if not why get it. You will not get work by just having a card! That being said, having a card does not limit you to doing just union work, you can get any gig you want.
Best of luck!
Long Live Da Cow!
Have to agree with a lot of this.
Nobody should ever forget the incredible great good that Unions did (and can continue to do in some cases) particularly with regards to basic issues like child labor - unsafe working conditions - and basic fairness. Unions have saved countless lives and have increased standards of living for many, many working people.
But they also have a well-documented history of growing into bureaucracies that can be as inefficient, venal, and even criminal as what they originally were set up to fight. Heck, Teamsters originally drove teams of horses - a necessary, and, yep, dirty and dangerous business. At some point, the union management understood that horse (or truck) driving skills weren't really very relevant to the job at hand. - especially when the union dues accounts grew to the level where money management and manipulation expertise was a LOT more important than the affinity skills of the membership. So rich, fat, soulless corporations spawned rich, fat, soulless unions. Not all, surely. But certainly some.
In my estimation, their biggest problem is like all large human organizations, they're slow to adapt and change. And unfortunately, the industries they once regulated so effectively are increasingly less relevant. Like it or not, those dangerous, union jobs of yore are largely moving off-shore. Today's market forces change so rapidly that ideas like setting rates by negotiation and codified contracts simply can't keep up with the current pace of change in human dynamics.
Heck, today a contract for work is as likely to be a couple of emails exchanged after a Craig's list posting - so the effectiveness of constantly adding a third party to the contracting mix seems kinda out of date. Plus rates are much more efficiently set by posting a survey post HERE - instead of looking it up on some schedule of union rates.
So much change. So little time to deal with it. Sigh.