As a member of the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees, known as IATSE, I am formally requesting that the site de-link Digby (listed on our links under “The Usual Suspects”), due to her failure to repudiate the smear, largely spread by her in the blog community, that Oprah Winfrey is anti-union and runs a non-union shop. Even after absolute confirmation of her use of the members of several locals of my union, she has maintained that her post was legitimate.
While I am also a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, as a member of IATSE, I know who the real working class union workers in my industry are. It is the camerapeople, the grips, electricians, hair and makeup and wardrobe artists, the carpenters and scenics and props. These are the people who work 12-16 hour days, without fame or great financial rewards. More than anyone else, it is they who are being hurt by the WGA strike and other more glamorous union agitation, and who are doing so generally silently and without complaint. They did not have the opportunity to sell as many scripts as they could to stock up for the strike. They did not have minimum payment of over $30,000 for each half-hour of television. They do not earn residual payments when their work is reused by networks.
This is not about Barack Obama. The IATSE earlier this month endorsed Sen. Clinton for President. But pretending that our employment, and the running of union shops for television technicians is not as important, and indeed far more important, than whether or not the “writing” staff of Oprah is unionized spits in the face of the claims that we are the allies of the unionized working men and women of America.
Digby will not be hurt by, or even notice our delinking. But while the lions of the blogging left have been silent over her being bamboozled by an obscure rag, we who are trying to do something different with a group blog can make a statement. A statement about who we are, and what we believe, and the value of truth.