Following the Union Thread

So yesterday, I was blogging about non-scripted/reality programming overtaking scripted programming, and that a lot of that was driven by costs.

A lot of the rant was due to some of the arcane, ass-backwards ideas that some of the entrenched union folks have around town and how they were hanging themselves and us in the quest to try new things in our new business. That new business is not Old Media.

Coincidentally enough, there was some of that discussion among members last night at the annual Producer’s Guild of America meeting. It was very interesting to me that as our membership grows rapidly at the Guild, that we are as a whole don’t seem to be that interested in becoming a collective-bargaining labor union.

We are mostly entrepreneurial and for our part, seem to recognize that the downside of the collective-bargaining for us far outweighs the benefits in terms of restrictions on what we can and can’t do “for” our employers.

Unionizing would automatically put us on the “victims” side of the table, and we as producers refuse to put ourselves in that position… there’s no need. We are far more interested in being collaborators than anything else, and that enthusiastic “do what needs to be done” passion in our members … well, I can’t say the last time I’ve ever seen that kind of attitude and zeal in a union worker… can you?

And then, we were given some results of the first PGA member survey that very much supported my earlier hypothesis.

The one that really caught my ear was this set of stats:

  • Members working in feature films: 30%
  • Members working in non-scripted/reality television: 24%
  • Members working in scripted television: 19%
  • Other production: 27% (games, cross genres, etc).

That’s some interesting numbers.