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Strike averted but I want you to advocate for yourself

· IATSE,Strike,entertainment,industry,unions

However, a few hours later, the Emmy nominated Actress and Comedian, followed up her initial congratulatory tweet with this... 

The union representing about 150,000 film and television production workers like makeup artists, animators, editors, reached a 3 year deal Saturday, averting a strike that was set to begin Monday. 

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) had been negotiating with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents major production studios like Netflix, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, and Disney. 

IATSE wanted better working conditions, including 10 hour turnaround times on the weekdays and "weekend" rest periods of 54 hours and higher pay on streaming shows including retroactive wage increases of 3 percent annually.

The new three-year deal still has to be ratified by members, and many members are not happy, voicing on social media that the tentative agreement was not what was promised.

The ratification vote will likely not be held for several weeks, as lawyers translate the deal points into contract language. 

In the meantime, work continues on film and TV sets, and here's what I want to say about that... 

Even without these union protections, protect and advocate for yourself and others. 

Be human. 

Just because the union rules have not been finalized, it doesn't mean you can't take care of yourself and advocate for those around you.

I believe strongly that you must take care of yourself FIRST because: 

No one will take care of you better than YOU.

I never understood why on a television or film production we needed to work 12 to 20 hour days, without any rest periods for months on end. We're not saving lives. The productions were just trying to save money by making everyone work non-stop for months, and they will always do what they can to get away with as much as possible.

I remember when I worked on The Bachelor, we would sometimes work over 24 hours, especially on the limo night shoot. 

Sometimes, we were doing the interviews with the cast who were leaving when the sun was coming up and there was an actual rooster crowing. 

In another instance, overwhelmed by mosquito bites while shooting in the U.S. Virgin Islands, I became delirious from staying up all night from all of my miserable itching. When I said I needed to go home, I had a supervisor tell me to basically "suck it up." 

I also remembered working in a newsroom, and there was a huge ice and snow storm that covered Seattle. To make it easier to get to work, someone picked me up and dropped me off at a nearby motel. However, this motel did not have room service, and I didn't have my car. 

Across the street was a Burger King, so I decided to walk over and get something to eat, but the main restaurant was closed. Only the drive-thru was available, so I walked up to the drive-thru window to order some food. And you know what they told me? 

"You can only order food through the drive-thru if you had a car." 

Why, I asked?

Because you can rob us.

What? I can rob you and get away faster, if I had a car! 

I tried to explain that I was staying in the motel across the street because of the snow storm, and they didn't have anything to eat there. However, there was no sympathy. 

I was able to make it to work the next day, (instead of getting stuck at home because of the snow storm) however I was hungry and miserable.

It also messed up my health. It was one of my first jobs out of university, and I worked every shift. On some days, I would work midnight to 8am, then the next day I would work 5pm to 1am, then the day after I would work 9am-5pm, etc. I never knew when I was supposed to sleep or what to eat at what time. I started to get my monthly flow every single day. Every day for a year.

I was 22 years old, and my body couldn't handle that schedule, so I quit. 

I also remember when I was still in school, and I worked for CBS on the Assignment Desk. 

Sometimes, the next assistant after me would be late. 

I would wait to do my hand-off.

One day, a senior producer said to me that I should leave on time each day. 

She said that by me staying late for that other person, I was actually jeopardizing everyone else's positions, as well. 

I didn't understand at first. Shen went on to explain that if I continuously stayed late without getting paid, I was working for free, and some unscrupulous boss would actually start to expect that from everyone, so I was doing a disservice to myself and others. 

To her, it was actually a selfish act to be "overly responsible." 

We may think we're doing the "right thing," but instead that over responsibility is just our way of trying to get the gold star, the pat on the back, the acknowledgment, however that acknowledgment has its consequences for everyone else.

So, start taking care of YOU. 

Know when your shift is over and go home. Know when you need a sick day or a mental health day and ask for it. AND support your coworkers as well when they also need a sick or mental health day or if you see something that's just not right. 

Standing up for each other is what a union is for, however, it also starts with us. Negotiate your rates, even if you are in a union or have an agent or manager. 

Even with a union deal, a manager or an agent, you may not get everything you want. But if you advocate for yourself and for others, you can.

With Gratitude,

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