Topics: Screen Actors Guild, Trade union, Actor Pages: 6 (2014 words) Published: July 2, 2013
Though unions have received mixed reviews in the past and are continually rejected by some companies, many people still do not understand the reasons behind the need to unionize. Many employees approached by the subject of unionizing often find themselves asking, what is a union? The act of unionizing is defined as forming a group within an organization or individual employees to create and insure fair wages, fair hours, and decent working conditions (The Labor Relations Process). Unions can be implemented into almost every part of the workforce. If there is a way to make money, then there is a way to abuse those who make money for you. Unions seek to level the playing field, to make the individual a part of a large group that can make changes for the present, that will affect the future, to ensure a better work environment for all parties.

Unionizing is often associated with factory work, but the entertainment industry is a market that is in desperate need for a unionized system. The need to establish fair wages, working conditions, and decent hours is something the entertainment industry has lacked in the past. Over the years unions have negotiated between union members and the industry to create fairer working conditions, and better pay. But the change has been slow and gradual. The entertainment industry encompasses a major part of the economic growth of the United States and now globally. All facets of the entertainment industry could benefit from unionizing because had unions been in place in the past, injustices in the future could have been avoided.

Now in the present, unions help to equalize and protect the members of the entertainment industry more regularly. In the future, unions could insure that people who spend time building brands and creating technology will receive the royalties and recognition they deserve. Unions play an important role in insuring that not only the largely paid, such as actors and actresses get treated fairly, but even the individuals that play smaller roles within the entertainment industry get the recognition and payments they are owed. It is important to unionize the entertainment fields to acknowledge the rights of past innovators within the field, to protect the rights of the innovators of the present, so that the rights of the innovators in the future will be preserved.

The first union in the entertainment field was the Director’s Guild of America, which was founded in 1935. During this time, working conditions for directors, and actors alike were extremely poor. They were poorly paid, and overworked, often times in unacceptable conditions. Steve Pond quoted a man named Vidor in his support of unions during this time. He said “We must have a guild to speak, and not the individual that can be hurt by standing up for his rights” (Pond). Though the entertainment union started off as more of a gentleman’s club or “think tank”, it evolved into a vehicle to discuss collective lobbying against blue laws (such as no working on Sundays), and fighting for the rights of the individuals within the group. It was not until the the National Industrial Recovery Act in June of 1933, that granted Unions the right to collective bargaining (insert source). Until this act, the individual had to stand for himself, without much hope to change his situation. The work of change produced within a group far surpasses the change of just one individual. Though the National Industrial Recovery Act was made to promote a number of things, an especially important reason was to improve the standards of labor. This made it possible for the organizations and employees to unionize--to get out of the gentlemen’s clubs and think tanks and get in to the organized movement to improve the standards of labor. This was to insure fair wages, working conditions, and hours not just for the wealthy or privileged, but also for the individual. A union is like an insurance plan. You pay a monthly...

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Geddes, Darryl. Cornell University. 30 April 1997. 11 October 2011 .
Handel, Jonathan. Digital Media Law. 7 April 2010. 10 October 2011 .
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Segrave, Kerry. Movies at Home: How Hollywood Came to Television. McFarland , 2009.
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