• #StagehandView: Call for Help from Local 917

    by  • March 8, 2014 • Blogs, Community, Stagehand View

    This post has been corrected. The original contained factual errors. I apologize. In my haste to move at the pace of unfolding events I failed to figure out some rather important details about the major players. Again, I apologize.

    March 8, 2014

    9:17 a.m.

    I recently and belatedly joined the You Know You’re a Stagehand If group on Facebook. I was almost immediately sucked into a cool little cyber campaign recently started by 1st International VP Michael Barnes on behalf of the IATSE local 917 in  Atlantic City. He is asking people to cut and paste a message about how the casinos in his town have double crossed union workers. I can tell you that local 917 doesn’t have anything about the Facebook group IA917 or Barnes’s claims about a “sleazy” double cross by the casinos in Atlantic City. I think it’s only fair to mention that, as far as I could tell, Local 917 doesn’t really have much of a web presence at all. After hitting that dead end I did a couple of preliminary – i.e. very fast and un-thorough – Google searches which didn’t mention anything about the local having a beef with the casinos, either. However, I did find a couple of December, 2013, newspaper articles talking about a casino bankruptcy and an executive bonus judgement from the courts. These stories corroborated at least part of Vice President Barnes’s story.

    None of which means much of anything, of course.

    Granted, my bias inclines to believe his claims about the double-dealing casinos. Here’s what he wrote and asked members of the IA917 group to share on various casino Facebook pages:

    WORKERS DOUBLECROSSED BY SLEAZY CASINO GAMES; The Atlantic City Stagehands Local 917 was chartered in 1978. Our mission is to represent the people working in the entertainment departments at the Atlantic City Casinos. In 2011, our union like many other unions in Atlantic City were asked to roll back cost to get Atlantic City back on track. The members of Local 917 agreed to a 20% roll back in wages and a three year wage freeze. The casinos asked and we agreed to take this step back to allow us to move forward. We were told we were in this together. We were gamed. The casinos took our roll back and immediately distributed management bonuses. The non represented workers in the casinos were given raises and in some cases now earn 25% more than the represented workers. Help us spread the message. Share and Tweet this post.

    I went ahead and joined his IA917 page and shared his message on some casino Facebook pages.

    Okay, I admit it; it’s my first time. I’ve never done this kind of cyber-activism before. I only shared his message twice, at Harrah’s Atlantic City and Trump Tower Las Vegas. I was nervous and almost chickened out. But then I pushed Post. After the second time I did lose my nerve and went and had breakfast. It’s been about a half hour and my computer has not caught fire. Nor has my Facebook page fallen victim to some massive and irrecoverable hack. In fact, nothing’s happened. … I think I might be a little disappointed.

    Two performances of Wicked today. The plan is to do some more posting of Brother Barnes’s “Double Cross” message between half-hour and top-of-show. I honestly don’t know if this kind of thing – Am I ‘”trolling?” – works or not. But it seems like it might. If anybody else does it, let me know how it goes.

    9:51 a.m.

    I can tell you that my posts at both Harrah’s and Trump have been removed. Though I just liked about a half dozen postings of it on the Harrah’s AC page. According to Barnes, there are at least 200 people working on this action.

    Like I said, I have no idea what the result of this will be. But it’s kind of fun.

    Next up, I’ll reach out to Vice President Barnes and see what he has to say. If you join in, let me know by commenting here. Or not. That’s cool, too.

    About

    IATSE Local 205 member since 2000. I'm a novelist-in-waiting; a former organizer; former president; former general fund trustee; former sgt-at-arms; current Stage Call contributor and copy editor (oh, and I created the newsletter back when I was CEO); blogger: on writing craft at yellowbirdeditors [dot] com, on most everything else at the address below, and on all things worker here.

    http://bradleypwilsonliterary.com