FIA North America and English Speaking Group Meeting Report
In early October, representatives of the FIA North America and English Speaking Group (FIANA/ESG) came together in Los Angeles for our annual meeting. Hosted by AFTRA, the meeting proved extremely valuable and cemented our shared commitment to regular meetings both of elected members and union staff.
The week kicked off with a sobering research presentation courtesy of the Directors’ Guild of America, on the forecasted impact of new media on the US television industry.
The presentation fuelled discussion on the following day, when participants gathered for the third FIANA/ESG New Media “Technicians” Meeting. These regular ‘technicians’ meetings have proved to be an invaluable opportunity for staff to share information, opportunities, experience and strategies with regard to emerging trends in new media.
The FIANA/ESG meeting took place on the following day. Senior staff and elected leaders of the unions provided reports on bargaining and policy developments in their jurisdictions. Issues discussed included: the increasing interest among theatre, ballet and opera companies in the recording and distribution of live performance, particularly for use in new media and simulcast to cinemas; attempts to organize Spanish language commercials in the US; and interactive/video game negotiations and organizing. The group also passed a resolution supporting MEAA sisters and brothers in their current strike against SPAA.
The week concluded with a meeting with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Elected leaders and Executive staff of ACTRA, AEA US, AFTRA, CAEA, Equity UK, MEAA, SAG, UdA, and the FIA General Secretary met with Robert Pisano (President), Fritz Attaway and Rob Bauer of the MPAA to discuss the WIPO Audio Visual Treaty, and content protection (piracy) issues.
FIA-NA Participation to the Meeting of the English-speaking group in Marrakesh, October 2008
FIA-NA members took part to this meeting along with other English-speaking members from Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia thanks to the framework of FIA's 19th World Congress that was held in Morocco in October 2008. Much of the meeting was given over to national reports, allowing a broad exchange of experience among the variety of members present. Participants were struck by how unions who work in such very different circumstances often have parallel experience on key concerns. There was discussion also around the system of twinning unions within FIA and the possibility of further extending this. It was an important opportunity for members to meet each other and renew their bonds of solidarity and common vision.
A meeting report is available for you to download below.
14-15 May 2005 - Toronto, Canada
The North American group of the International Federation of Actors (FIA-NA) met in Toronto on May 14 and 15, 2005 - gathering delegates from the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA, Canada), American Actors' Equity Association (AEA, USA), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA, USA), Canadian Actors’ Equity Association (CAEA, Canada), Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG, USA) and Union des Artistes (UDA, Canada). Also represented were FIA and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA, Australia). Discussion essentially focused on safety in the workplace, non-union productions, communication and governance, cultural diversity and the global protection of performers. Based on SAG’s “Global Rule One”, other unions decided to enforce the use of collective agreements for their members employed abroad, under certain conditions. These measures are necessary to clamp down on the non-union employment of performers in relocated productions, which has become a challenge for many of our members.
Much attention was given to two industrial conflicts in Canada and Mexico. The Blue Man Group, an extremely successful production company with shows in the USA and Germany, is planning to open soon another franchised production in London (UK) and in Toronto, Canada. Despite its huge success – and millions of income – the Blue Man Group wishes to open in Canada non-union. FIA and many of its affiliates have backed without reserve CAEA’s decision to BOYCOTT the show until a satisfactory agreement is reached that will grant performers, musicians and technicians decent and proper working conditions. All FIA-NA unions reaffirmed their intention to instruct their members not to accept work for this show in Toronto until the dispute is solved.
The industrial action undertaken by the Asociación Nacional de Actores (ANDA, Mexico) in support of dubbing artists in the country was also discussed at great length. Despite the outrageously low pay that professional dubbing artists get today in Mexico (some being paid as low as 6 US dollars for each episode), Grabaciones y Doblajes Internacionales refuses to renew an agreement with ANDA, hiring amateurs instead – that they can pay even less. FIA and its North American group have also called for worldwide support to this strike. Such behaviours are unacceptable, deeply offensive for the professionals that we represent and they do not benefit the industry. They certainly offer a further argument in favour of strong and effective unions as well as international solidarity.