Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [pdxbackstage] Re: Terrence McNally

Expand Messages
  • Robert Projansky
    How does boycotting Profile change McNally s behavior or opinions? Will he ever even know about your action? Do you really think it will change anything? If
    Message 1 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      How does boycotting Profile change McNally's behavior or opinions? Will
      he ever even know about your action? Do you really think it will
      change anything?

      If you want your cause to have an effect, I don't think this is a very
      useful way to get one, except for the clearly foreseeable collateral
      damage to Profile and everybody involved in their season. Boycotting
      Profile to show McNally you're mad at him is analogous to capping tort
      recoveries and thus screwing injured and helpless people in the hopes
      that allowing insurance companies to pocket more profits will somehow
      encourage more doctors to practice out there in Dogpatch or Buffalo
      Breath. The people you propose boycotting (and hurting) can't change
      McNally's opinions any more than you can.

      I suggest you write to McNally directly -- or as directly as you can;
      I'm sure Profile will relay anything you write -- and tell him what you
      read in the War-egonian and how you feel about it. And if that's what
      he said, you can tell him -- I think -- that that's how the rest of us
      feel about it, too.

      Bob Projansky


      On Jan 31, 2005, at 3:29 PM, marymac wrote:

      > Hi All,
      >
      > I thought this might garner a response or two, and truly appreciate
      > the wise responses!  I truly appreciate the thoughtfulness of the
      > replies, with one exception: language that calls a sincere and
      > heartfelt expression of genuine concern "and enormously silly idea"
      > does not encourage me to deepen the debate.  But easy enough to
      > overlook in the face of the many other well-considered responses.
      >
      > To broaden my insight into this, I have also just had an interesting
      > discussion with my friend Bob Hicks, the journalist who wrote the
      > interview, and he verified that the quote suggesting that unions be
      > broken was not only accurate, but that McNally mentioned it two times
      > during the interview, causing Bob to feel that it was important to
      > include.
      >
      > Based on the context, just as a matter of information, Bob felt that
      > McNally was talking about the stagehands' union rather than the
      > actors' unions, as one area of expense that contributed to the overall
      > cost of production and hindered playwrights' work from being staged.
      >
      > Now, I don't care which union he's referring to, the working man and
      > woman ought to be the *last* source of revenue when solutions to
      > burgeoning budgets are being sought, just as the playwright's pocket
      > ought not be picked for that purpose (and yes, I do realize that he
      > was paid well before his work was mounted at Profile, thanks--running
      > a theatre company for the past four years has taught me a bit about
      > that!).
      >
      > And certainly any suggestion that the unions be broken is a serious,
      > serious charge, and as aggressive and ill-informed as a college
      > president suggesting women are genetically unsuited to science.  Folks
      > making remarks in the public square must be responsible for them, and
      > this dialogue is a part of that.  Membership in labor unions, as we
      > know from today's paper, are down to the lowest point in SIXTY YEARS,
      > and trust me when I tell you that without them, we would all be in a
      > world of hurt.
      >
      > And obviously, as the Guild's local union rep, this is an area I am
      > deeply dedicated to -- particularly in light of the cancerous spread
      > of the so-called "Right to Work" movement, which will rob you of any
      > and all leverage in the workplace, should it spread to Oregon, in
      > every industry here.
      >
      > However, in view of this discussion, Bob Hick's input is well taken,
      > and I quote him (accurately) when he advised me: "Keep the talk going,
      > and try not to demonize the guy."
      >
      > I can get behind that.  The problem McNally highlights is a serious
      > one and needs to be solved: producing theatre is obscenely expensive,
      > and its cost prohibits art from happening.  How do we address that?
      >
      > Now.  As to whether or not I go see McNally's work, I likely will
      > not.  I can see the wonderful actors on this stage in many other
      > productions with my whole heart in attendance, and I can support
      > Profile by attending many other plays.  What I will not do is be
      > untrue to my beliefs.  If McNally had spouted (deliberately,
      > carelessly, as a result of age, not enough sleep or too much liquor)
      > something else I found offensive (about women, the war, race, creed,
      > sexuality, religion, you name it), I would withhold my support--this
      > is no different.
      >
      > It's not that my views are so precious I must stay indoors and hide
      > from all assaults upon them.  But in a very real and measurable way, I
      > spend a great deal of my time as a unionist protecting folks' rights
      > and promoting something I care about in a profound way, and with all
      > the other ways, and all the other plays out there, I can turn from
      > this one and toward others, and not spend time, money and energy in a
      > place where I am not comfortable.
      >
      > Thanks for all and eager to hear more.
      >
      > MM
      >
      >
      >
      > > From: David Halliday Millstone <dmillstone1@...>
      > > Reply-To: pdxbackstage@yahoogroups.com
      > > Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 13:34:41 -0800 (PST)
      > > To: pdxbackstage@yahoogroups.com
      > > Subject: Re: [pdxbackstage] Re: Terrence McNally
      > >
      > >
      > > Boycotting Profile's production of a McNally play is
      > > an enormously silly idea, even if the company agreed
      > > with McNally's desire to 'break' unions (if, indeed,
      > > that's what he has in mind).  
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Economy Tracker
      >
      >
      > Monday, January 31, 2005
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Labor union decline persists in 2004
      >  
      >
      > The percentage of Americans belonging to labor unions fell last year
      > to the lowest level in more than six decades, the Bureau of Labor
      > Statistics reported.
      >
      > The portion of all workers in unions dropped to 12.5 percent in 2004
      > from 12.9 percent the previous year, the bureau said, while the
      > percentage of private-sector workers in unions fell to 7.9 percent,
      > the lowest level since the early 1900s.
      >
      > In Oregon, the portion of all workers in unions trimmed to 5.2
      > percent, down from 15.7 percent in 2003, the federal report said.
      >
      > The numbers come as organized labor debates how to reverse its steady
      > decline, from its peak in the 1950s, when it represented 35 percent of
      > all workers.
      >
      >
      > ****PLEASE, DO NOT HIT "REPLY" TO THIS MESSAGE unless your response to
      > this email is of general interest to the group-at-large.  If your
      > response is ONLY INTENDED FOR ME, please find my email address below /
      > above and send your response ONLY TO ME. *******
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      > • To visit your group on the web, go to:
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pdxbackstage/
      >  
      > • To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      > pdxbackstage-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
      >  
      > • Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
      > Service.
      >
      >
      >
    • Mary McDonald-Lewis
      Hey all, Terrific dialogue. Long story short, I posted my comments here because I believe in them, they are important to me, and are important enough to
      Message 2 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
      • 0 Attachment
        Hey all,

        Terrific dialogue. Long story short, I posted my comments here because
        I believe in them, they are important to me, and are important enough
        to express. I posted them here because I believe the community is wise
        enough to take them in, consider them, and possibly respond. I posted
        them because I was interested in your opinions, too. I posted them
        here because I believe in this group's ability to take in
        "controversial" positions maturely, and react to them temperately.

        I want to thank one and all for their input -- most especially Harold:
        thanks, H., for your respectful and thoughtful response.

        And I wish for each of you what I hope and expect for myself: the
        continued ability to live according to my own lights, to continue to
        seek illumination from others, and together to cast light on the
        darkness.

        My best to one and all!

        MM



        On Feb 1, 2005, at 3:14 AM, Robert Projansky wrote:

        > How does boycotting Profile change McNally's behavior or opinions?
        > Will he ever even know about your action? Do you really think it will
        > change anything?
        >
        > If you want your cause to have an effect, I don't think this is a very
        > useful way to get one, except for the clearly foreseeable collateral
        > damage to Profile and everybody involved in their season. Boycotting
        > Profile to show McNally you're mad at him is analogous to capping tort
        > recoveries and thus screwing injured and helpless people in the hopes
        > that allowing insurance companies to pocket more profits will somehow
        > encourage more doctors to practice out there in Dogpatch or Buffalo
        > Breath. The people you propose boycotting (and hurting) can't change
        > McNally's opinions any more than you can.
        >
        > I suggest you write to McNally directly -- or as directly as you can;
        > I'm sure Profile will relay anything you write -- and tell him what
        > you read in the War-egonian and how you feel about it. And if that's
        > what he said, you can tell him -- I think -- that that's how the rest
        > of us feel about it, too.
        >
        > Bob Projansky
        >
        >
        > On Jan 31, 2005, at 3:29 PM, marymac wrote:
        >
        >> Hi All,
        >>
        >> I thought this might garner a response or two, and truly appreciate
        >> the wise responses!  I truly appreciate the thoughtfulness of the
        >> replies, with one exception: language that calls a sincere and
        >> heartfelt expression of genuine concern "and enormously silly idea"
        >> does not encourage me to deepen the debate.  But easy enough to
        >> overlook in the face of the many other well-considered responses.
        >>
        >> To broaden my insight into this, I have also just had an interesting
        >> discussion with my friend Bob Hicks, the journalist who wrote the
        >> interview, and he verified that the quote suggesting that unions be
        >> broken was not only accurate, but that McNally mentioned it two times
        >> during the interview, causing Bob to feel that it was important to
        >> include.
        >>
        >> Based on the context, just as a matter of information, Bob felt that
        >> McNally was talking about the stagehands' union rather than the
        >> actors' unions, as one area of expense that contributed to the
        >> overall cost of production and hindered playwrights' work from being
        >> staged.
        >>
        >> Now, I don't care which union he's referring to, the working man and
        >> woman ought to be the *last* source of revenue when solutions to
        >> burgeoning budgets are being sought, just as the playwright's pocket
        >> ought not be picked for that purpose (and yes, I do realize that he
        >> was paid well before his work was mounted at Profile, thanks--running
        >> a theatre company for the past four years has taught me a bit about
        >> that!).
        >>
        >> And certainly any suggestion that the unions be broken is a serious,
        >> serious charge, and as aggressive and ill-informed as a college
        >> president suggesting women are genetically unsuited to science.
        >>  Folks making remarks in the public square must be responsible for
        >> them, and this dialogue is a part of that.  Membership in labor
        >> unions, as we know from today's paper, are down to the lowest point
        >> in SIXTY YEARS, and trust me when I tell you that without them, we
        >> would all be in a world of hurt.
        >>
        >> And obviously, as the Guild's local union rep, this is an area I am
        >> deeply dedicated to -- particularly in light of the cancerous spread
        >> of the so-called "Right to Work" movement, which will rob you of any
        >> and all leverage in the workplace, should it spread to Oregon, in
        >> every industry here.
        >>
        >> However, in view of this discussion, Bob Hick's input is well taken,
        >> and I quote him (accurately) when he advised me: "Keep the talk
        >> going, and try not to demonize the guy."
        >>
        >> I can get behind that.  The problem McNally highlights is a serious
        >> one and needs to be solved: producing theatre is obscenely expensive,
        >> and its cost prohibits art from happening.  How do we address that?
        >>
        >> Now.  As to whether or not I go see McNally's work, I likely will
        >> not.  I can see the wonderful actors on this stage in many other
        >> productions with my whole heart in attendance, and I can support
        >> Profile by attending many other plays.  What I will not do is be
        >> untrue to my beliefs.  If McNally had spouted (deliberately,
        >> carelessly, as a result of age, not enough sleep or too much liquor)
        >> something else I found offensive (about women, the war, race, creed,
        >> sexuality, religion, you name it), I would withhold my support--this
        >> is no different.
        >>
        >> It's not that my views are so precious I must stay indoors and hide
        >> from all assaults upon them.  But in a very real and measurable way,
        >> I spend a great deal of my time as a unionist protecting folks'
        >> rights and promoting something I care about in a profound way, and
        >> with all the other ways, and all the other plays out there, I can
        >> turn from this one and toward others, and not spend time, money and
        >> energy in a place where I am not comfortable.
        >>
        >> Thanks for all and eager to hear more.
        >>
        >> MM
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >> > From: David Halliday Millstone <dmillstone1@...>
        >> > Reply-To: pdxbackstage@yahoogroups.com
        >> > Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 13:34:41 -0800 (PST)
        >> > To: pdxbackstage@yahoogroups.com
        >> > Subject: Re: [pdxbackstage] Re: Terrence McNally
        >> >
        >> >
        >> > Boycotting Profile's production of a McNally play is
        >> > an enormously silly idea, even if the company agreed
        >> > with McNally's desire to 'break' unions (if, indeed,
        >> > that's what he has in mind).  
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >> Economy Tracker
        >>
        >>
        >> Monday, January 31, 2005
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >> Labor union decline persists in 2004
        >>  
        >>
        >> The percentage of Americans belonging to labor unions fell last year
        >> to the lowest level in more than six decades, the Bureau of Labor
        >> Statistics reported.
        >>
        >> The portion of all workers in unions dropped to 12.5 percent in 2004
        >> from 12.9 percent the previous year, the bureau said, while the
        >> percentage of private-sector workers in unions fell to 7.9 percent,
        >> the lowest level since the early 1900s.
        >>
        >> In Oregon, the portion of all workers in unions trimmed to 5.2
        >> percent, down from 15.7 percent in 2003, the federal report said.
        >>
        >> The numbers come as organized labor debates how to reverse its
        >> steady decline, from its peak in the 1950s, when it represented 35
        >> percent of all workers.
        >>
        >>
        >> ****PLEASE, DO NOT HIT "REPLY" TO THIS MESSAGE unless your response
        >> to this email is of general interest to the group-at-large.  If your
        >> response is ONLY INTENDED FOR ME, please find my email address below
        >> / above and send your response ONLY TO ME. *******
        >>
        >>
        >>
        >> Yahoo! Groups Links
        >>
        >> • To visit your group on the web, go to:
        >> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pdxbackstage/
        >>  
        >> • To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        >> pdxbackstage-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >>  
        >> • Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
        >> Service.
        >>
        >>
        >>
      • Harold Phillips
        I m with Bob on this one - if you re unhappy with what McNally said, best to contact him directly as opposed to punishing profile. Heck, he may not even know
        Message 3 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
        • 0 Attachment
          I'm with Bob on this one - if you're unhappy with what McNally said, best to contact him directly as opposed to punishing profile.  Heck, he may not even know that he's sparked this little firestorm (though I think he's acquainted enough with stirring up hornets nests to have anticipated it a little :)  Has there been a play he's written in the last 20 years that DIDN'T cause controversy? ).
          -----Original Message-----
          From: Robert Projansky [mailto:rprojansky@...]
          Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 3:14 AM
          To: pdxbackstage@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [pdxbackstage] Re: Terrence McNally

          I suggest you write to McNally directly -- or as directly as you can; I'm sure Profile will relay anything you write -- and tell him what you read in the War-egonian and how you feel about it. And if that's what he said, you can tell him -- I think -- that that's how the rest of us feel about it, too.

           
        • James3322@aol.com
          Much ado about nothing. Jim Wilhite
          Message 4 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
          • 0 Attachment
            Much ado about nothing.
             
            Jim Wilhite
          • marymac
            Sound counsel. Did it *long* before I posted here! Great minds clearly think alike. Moving on now... MM From: Harold Phillips
            Message 5 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
            • 0 Attachment
              Re: [pdxbackstage] Re: Terrence McNally Sound counsel.  Did it *long* before I posted here!  Great minds clearly think alike.

              Moving on now...

              MM



              From: "Harold Phillips" <trishandharold@...>
              Reply-To: pdxbackstage@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2005 10:54:48 -0800
              To: <pdxbackstage@yahoogroups.com>
              Subject: RE: [pdxbackstage] Re: Terrence McNally


              I'm with Bob on this one - if you're unhappy with what McNally said, best to contact him directly as opposed to punishing profile.  Heck, he may not even know that he's sparked this little firestorm (though I think he's acquainted enough with stirring up hornets nests to have anticipated it a little :)  Has there been a play he's written in the last 20 years that DIDN'T cause controversy? ).
              -----Original Message-----
              From: Robert Projansky [mailto:rprojansky@...]
              Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 3:14 AM
              To: pdxbackstage@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [pdxbackstage] Re: Terrence McNally

              I suggest you write to McNally directly -- or as directly as you can; I'm sure Profile will relay anything you write -- and tell him what you read in the War-egonian and how you feel about it. And if that's what he said, you can tell him -- I think -- that that's how the rest of us feel about it, too.




              ****PLEASE, DO NOT HIT "REPLY" TO THIS MESSAGE unless your response to this email is of general interest to the group-at-large.  If your response is ONLY INTENDED FOR ME, please find my email address below / above and send your response ONLY TO ME. *******




              Yahoo! Groups Links
              • To visit your group on the web, go to:
              • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pdxbackstage/
              • To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
              • pdxbackstage-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com <mailto:pdxbackstage-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com?subject=Unsubscribe>
              • Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> .


            • Robert Projansky
              I suggest that as a matter of convenience and courtesy to each other we should make it a general practice to sign all pdxbackstage posts with both our first
              Message 6 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
              • 0 Attachment
                I suggest that as a matter of convenience and courtesy to each other we
                should make it a general practice to sign all pdxbackstage posts with
                both our first and last names.

                Bob Projansky

                On Jan 31, 2005, at 11:08 PM, cascadeofwater wrote:

                >
                > First to Mary, then to all.
                >
                > Mary, I've no doubt your post came out of the best of intentions. 
                > However, my own firsthand experience with unions (albeit not theater-
                > related) is in sharp contrast to yours.  While employed at OHSU, I,
                > along with everyone else in my work classification, was forced to
                > pay union dues whether I joined the union or not.  At an orientation
                > session in which union leaders tried to convince us to join, I
                > inquired as to how the union would benefit us.  "We fight for higher
                > wages for members," was the reply.  In fact, OHSU (at the time,
                > anyway--this was in the mid 1990s) paid its employees an average of
                > 15% LESS than nonunion hospitals in the greater Portland area
                > (stories of coworkers there from earlier and later years also
                > supported this pattern).  How ludicrous is that?  And I won't try to
                > illustrate with similar stories I've heard from friends of mine in
                > construction and other labor unions, because I do not have direct
                > experience in those fields.  So, when you stated "trust me when I
                > tell you that without them [unions], we would all be in a world of
                > hurt," I'm afraid you have left out the entire, crucial, other half
                > of the story (I do concede that unions served a purpose at a certain
                > point in U.S. history, but that was long ago).  Since I'm unaware
                > specifically, I will grant you that theater unions are entirely
                > different--but since I don't know this myself for a fact, I felt the
                > need to attempt to balance your overarching point. 
                >
                > And when you stated, "If McNally had spouted (deliberately,
                > carelessly, as a result of age, not enough sleep or too much liquor)
                > something else I found offensive (about women, the war, race, creed,
                > sexuality, religion, you name it), I would withhold my support--this
                > is no different," I must say I'm surprised at hearing this from a
                > seasoned veteran of the theater world.  Theater by definition, at
                > least in my mind, is ABOUT being pushed out of one's comfort zone,
                > in order to stimulate reflection, dialogue, and hopefully change
                > when necessary.  In addition, couldn't we at least consider the
                > notion of not politicizing every bit of the arts?? 
                >
                > To all,
                > I want to thank those of you who responded to my daughter's request
                > yesterday for help with her radio theater project.  She and her team
                > are off to a great start and thoroughly enjoying themselves. 
                >
                > But I ESPECIALLY wanted to mention how happy I am to hear many of
                > you on this list supporting Profile Theatre Project, a theater
                > company that is very special to us, because it's where my daughter
                > had her first professional acting experience in fall 2003, playing
                > Goering's daughter in Linney's play '2' last year.  It was a
                > wonderful experience, under PTP's amazing and most enlightened
                > artistic director, Jane Unger (the most professional theater person
                > we have encountered to date).  We feel Portland is incredibly lucky
                > to have her, and that she and PTP deserve to reap abundant rewards
                > for all the efforts they put into producing and performing an
                > unique, intellectually-stimulating series of plays each season in
                > our community. 
                >
                > Best to all,
                >
                > ~Lynn H.
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > ****PLEASE, DO NOT HIT "REPLY" TO THIS MESSAGE unless your response to
                > this email is of general interest to the group-at-large.  If your
                > response is ONLY INTENDED FOR ME, please find my email address below /
                > above and send your response ONLY TO ME. *******
                >
                >
                >
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                > • To visit your group on the web, go to:
                > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pdxbackstage/
                >  
                > • To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                > pdxbackstage-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                >  
                > • Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
                > Service.
                >
                >
              • Emily
                Hi everyone. Can y all bear one more post on this subject? I appreciate this remark from Mary Mac: the price of goods and services does not go up because
                Message 7 of 16 , Feb 1, 2005
                • 0 Attachment
                  Re: [pdxbackstage] Re: Terrence McNally

                  Hi everyone. Can y’all bear one more post on this subject?

                   

                  I appreciate this remark from Mary Mac: the price of goods and services does not go up because unions ensure fair wages and working conditions.  They go up because shareholders and company principles -- CEOs and the like -- refuse to reduce *their* profit in order to ethically compensate their workers. So, the "savings," as it were, are passed on to us, the consumer, while the blame for the costs are pawned off on the working man!

                   

                  I finally decide to weigh in on this, having thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your thoughts. I rarely post, usually feeling that others better articulate their points of view. But here goes….

                   

                  My husband is a journeyman stagehand with IATSE Local 28. I am so grateful for the union rules under which he works. None of the working men or women of Local 28 are getting rich. Au contraire. Their work, like ours, is sporadic and seasonal. It’s “feast or famine,” just as it can be for performers.


                  When there is work the hours can be grueling. Companies understandably want to pay as little rent as possible on a house like the Keller. Or maybe there was another show in there which limits the amount of time available for loading in. Regardless of the reasons, the crew may be there from
                  8am to midnight one day, and back again at 8am for another 16 hour day and so on. I’m glad that if my husband is pulling that kind of day he’s given breaks and a lunch hour. (I may choose to eat at my desk and work 10 hours without a break, but I’m sitting at a desk, not rigging lights in a Bozeman’s chair. Those lights may be hanging over your head some night, so you better hope the guy who hung them was competent and wasn’t suffering from low blood sugar!) I also believe that sort of schedule warrants overtime pay.

                   

                  I know full well that the theatre companies are non-profits and they’re struggling and it’s tough for them sometimes to understand taking a coffee break at a particular time or paying a meal penalty for not breaking for dinner. I totally sympathize. However, sometimes the onus is on them. I don’t mean to offend anyone, really, but let’s face it. Sometimes theatre artists are not the best business people. We all have our strengths. That’s why we have Artistic Directors and Managing Directors. Anyway, I’ve heard countless stories of artists arriving to load-in unprepared. The plot isn’t finished, or they decide they want to make changes 2 or 3 times. At some point, a production manager may have to tell a designer No, you’ve spent your labor budget and it’s time to stop.

                   

                  Finally, why should any theatre artist – performer or technician – be expected to suffer for their art or remain perpetually in poverty? I’m not sure how the majority of non-union technicians make their living, so I won’t speak for them. Based on my husband’s pre-union experience, and the experiences of a few friends, I’d speculate that it ain’t easy, or very lucrative. At least with a union you’re guaranteed a decent hourly wage, presumably safer working conditions (although technical work is still dangerous and injuries are not uncommon), retirement accounts and the possibility of medical/dental bennies. Those benefits were achieved through collective bargaining, the brothers and sisters of a union working together to insure the health and welfare of each other.

                   

                  So there’s my two cents. My point, I suppose, is simply to offer a pro-union perspective from the stagehands’ end (indirectly, since I’m not a member) since we seem to have the performers’ unions fairly well covered here already. I took note of McNally’s comments when reading the paper, and certainly disagree. But whatever. I’m more concerned with what the members of our community think than with him. So thanks for sharing, and letting me do the same.

                   

                  Emily Beleele

                   

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: marymac [mailto:mary@...]
                  Sent:
                  Tuesday, February 01, 2005 11:51 AM
                  To:
                  pdxbackstage@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [pdxbackstage] Re: Terrence McNally

                   

                  Terrific insight, and my union affiliation being SAG & AFTRA, not Equity (though I certainly honor all who are in that org. as well) does influence my experience considerably and may cause if to differ some from those in that union.

                  Harold, you truly describe the circumstances with great clarity here, and I am so glad you took the time.

                  One note -- our unions may differ some from other trade labor organizations, in that in our profession rarely does *anyone* have any money (speaking specifically of theatre here): owners, stakeholders, workers.  However, it's really important, I think, to recall that in *industry,* the price of goods and services does not go up because unions ensure fair wages and working conditions.  They go up because shareholders and company principles -- CEOs and the like -- refuse to reduce *their* profit in order to ethically compensate their workers.

                  So, the "savings," as it were, are passed on to us, the consumer, while the blame for the costs are pawned off on the working man!

                  Anyway, must shift focus to other topics at present (Winning my Bread being the main one!) but truly enjoy, appreciate, and learned from this conversation.

                  In terms of my experience of this discussion, much ado about *something,* I think!

                  MM


                  From: "Harold Phillips" <trishandharold@...>
                  Reply-To: pdxbackstage@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2005 10:51:52 -0800
                  To: <pdxbackstage@yahoogroups.com>
                  Subject: RE: [pdxbackstage] Re: Terrence McNally

                   

                  Wow... Mary, you rule!  Conversations like this are exactly what this list is for... education, discussion, arguing the issues... I might not be staying home from Profile shows with you, but the conversation you've sparked is of a very high value in my opinion.

                  The unions in Portland are a hard thing to discuss.  One one hand we know that they provide a valuable service: closer to a living wage for the members (I'd like to say "living wage," but I think we all know better...), the possibility of benefits (I hear you, Jesse... you're not the first Equity actor in a smaller market who's been complaining about the change in health benefits), and above all the insurance of a safe workplace.

                  Deb hit the nail on the head, however, with the downside to union membership in Portland.  Even though more theatres are managing to offer LOA's, Guest Artist and Umbrella contract, the economics involved still make it hard to hire union actors.  Plus union actors are locked out of a lot of theatres whose work they would love to participate in because those theatres can't afford even a 99 Seat contract.  Consequently most union actors end up fighting over the few Equity jobs available here in town and going out of town to find work.  It's a tough call - I can understand the light-headedness.

                  My personal feeling is that the unions should try and find a way to encourage the safety and work standards that they bring with them to a theatre while lessening the economic impact to small companies in small markets... easy for me to say, though.  I'm not at Equity or SAG headquarters trying to balance the books.

                  In any case, I think that this union discussion is the same discussion that every industry with union involvement has.  The union is there for the worker, to ensure the worker's rights (sorry Lynn, but I don't agree that "unions served a purpose at a certain
                  point in U.S. history, but that was long ago"
                  .  There are just as many places in the world right now that compromise worker safety and take shortcuts as there were at the turn of the century.  While I, too, would chafe under having to pay union dues when I wasn't in the union, I don't think you can discount what collective bargaining has done to keep people healthy and working at a living wage - and there are probably plenty of people at Wal-Mart - or Powell's - that would agree with me.).  

                  That being said, it's always going to cost more to implement what the union demands of management (not talking about salary here, though that's a piece of the pie.  If you have to pay more for safety or extra staff to offset long hours, the price of the product is naturally going to go up... whether that product is screwdrivers or theatrical productions). That's always going to be the rock-and-hard-place problem that unions and management are going to find themselves in.

                  I'm not anti-union, because I believe that they do good things and keep the workers safe.  By the same token, I can't join the union if I want to keep working steadily in Portland and not have to travel the country to find that next job.  So... there's the conundrum.  God knows that we're never going to find an easy answer to these questions... and in some ways we should probably thank McNally for raising people's ire and sparking conversations just like this one.



                  ****PLEASE, DO NOT HIT "REPLY" TO THIS MESSAGE unless your response to this email is of general interest to the group-at-large.  If your response is ONLY INTENDED FOR ME, please find my email address below / above and send your response ONLY TO ME. *******



                  Yahoo! Groups Links

                  ·         To visit your group on the web, go to:

                  ·         http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pdxbackstage/

                  ·          

                  ·         To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

                  ·         pdxbackstage-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com <mailto:pdxbackstage-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com?subject=Unsubscribe>

                  ·          

                  ·         Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> .

                   




                  ****PLEASE, DO NOT HIT "REPLY" TO THIS MESSAGE unless your response to this email is of general interest to the group-at-large.  If your response is ONLY INTENDED FOR ME, please find my email address below / above and send your response ONLY TO ME. *******


                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.