A Letter from FTAC Chair Brent Swift
to IA President Tom Short
This letter was sent with the specific purpose of opening a dialogue between the IA and it's members who are striving to bring their jobs back to the United States. Tom Short's silence on runaway productions has been deafening. The IA is the one group that has never come to the table to represent the 90% of its membership that works in the US.
June 25, 2001
Thomas Short I.A.T.S.E.
1515 Broadway, Suite#601 New York, NY 10036
I am writing to you as both a member of Local 876 and Chairman of the Film and Television Action Committee (FTAC). Over the past six weeks, on numerous occasions, I have endeavored to get in contact with Joe Aredas I have left messages almost every week and to this point have not received a return call. So now, it is time to contact you directly.
My purpose in trying to get in touch with Joe Aredas was to let him know what FTAC's plans are regarding "runaway production" and countervailing tariffs, and to establish a productive dialog between the union and the members on this most critical of issues. In the midst of increasing rancor and division on this issue and with the many rumors circulating in Hollywood as to what IATSE's policy on tariffs and runaway jobs may or may not be, we believe now is the time to open a direct line of communication so that we might arrive at those solutions which will which both serve our members and support the welfare of our union.
FTAC has been working for some time now trying to put our brothers and sisters back to work. Our main focus has been to do what ever it takes to help level the playing field so that each union member, no matter in which country they work, has an equal opportunity to gainful employment. I'm sure you agree that defending our member's jobs from unfair trade practices should be a primary goal of their union.
Yesterday I received a copy of an unsigned document, allegedly written by Bruce Doering (Local 600).Its title was "Why Tariffs Won't Work" and it pits subsides against tariffs. Why should we believe that one course of action is mutually exclusive of the other? I believe that our present course of action (tariffs) does not detract from the pursuit of subsidies. It's important to note that both proposed remedies are directed toward returning jobs from Canada to the US that were removed by the Canadian subsidies. If the intent of opposing tariffs is to avoid taking action that will remove Canadian jobs to the US, why are we supporting the alternative proposal of subsidies, which has the very same goal? We can all agree that no matter how it happens, getting jobs back is what the overwhelming majority of IATSE film and television production workers are now demanding. It seems to this end, each campaign will help give visibility and viability to the other. I wish those working toward subsidies, good luck. If they are approved then our goal will have been reached. However, all current indications from Washington (as I am sure you must be aware of) are that meaningful subsidies have no chance in congress. We are working on the alternative and hope that when subsidies prove to be unobtainable, those supporting them will join us in supporting tariffs, which are the last politically viable course of action remaining to us.
I welcome the opportunity of speaking with you personally in hopes of finding common ground for a course of action that will put our members back to work, that will be fair for all parties, and that will contribute to the strength of our union.
IATSE Local 876
Chairman, Film & Television Action Committee (FTAC)
CC: Joe Aredas
Since this letter was written a great deal of new information has come our way. This new data should silence many of the naysayers and demonstrate that countervailing tariffs are not only possible but also probable.