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How to Lose a Fight: Lessons From Teamsters Local 399

0727 teamsters
If you, reader, were to fight a Teamster, you would probably lose. Why? Because you’re an actor. Actors don’t win fights unless choreography is involved—especially fights against guys who drive trucks. TV and film producers, on the other hand, appear to have done to the transportation union what Ivan Drago did to Apollo Creed and time did to Leonardo DiCaprio’s looks.

Since the Teamsters Local 399 accepted a contract offer this week from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and averted a possible strike, judges have almost unanimously scored the bout in favor of the studios. At Deadline.com, Nikki Finke claimed that moguls “were never worried” about a possible strike. Jonathan Handel, whose coverage for Back Stage’s sister publication The Hollywood Reporter was exhaustive, wrote on his blog Digital Media Law that “the union blinked.” According to Handel, the difference between the contract offer that the Teamsters rejected July 23 and the one they ratified by a vote of 97.3 percent to 2.7 percent two days later came down to three minor points, among them reimbursement for members’ drivers license–renewal fees. Variety’s Dave McNary interpreted the Teamsters deal as a message from producers to other entertainment unions: “Dial down your expectations for the next round of labor talks.”

As McNary points out, the next round begins Sept. 27, when the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists officially begin negotiations with producers. With wages-and-working-conditions meetings wrapped, the unions’ strategy for negotiations will begin to take shape at an August plenary and a September joint board meeting. The two unions are returning to joint negotiations following a split in 2008, when AFTRA struck its own deal. SAG didn’t secure a contract until 2009.

No doubt performers-union strategists took note of the smackdown that the producers just dealt their last opponent. Unless SAG and AFTRA somehow think that victory can be found in loud threats followed by sudden surrender, they would do best to look to the Teamsters for a lesson on how not to win a fight.

Pictured: Teamsters picketing alongside striking writers in 2008. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Let me see if I got this right. The Teamsters demand 3% and the studios offer 2%. The Teamsters threaten to strike and the studios offer to pay about 25% of working Teamsters an extra $40 per day in addition to the 2%. The Teamsters accept the offer. And that's losing a fight? Boy, I can hardly wait to see the Teamsters win one!!!

".. and time did to Leonardo DiCaprio’s looks"

Leonardo DiCaprio is a handsome and very talented actor. There are many more and better ways to write cleverly than being mean-spirited.

if you think making fun of Leo is acute way to show your mediocre writing skills then guess what? Yoou succeeded, that was the most mediocre analogy of all time not only because Leo is a good looking dude and more talented then your entire lineage but because you lose your reader right from the get go with that type of B.S. Take a lesson from the greats. Report, keep your lame opinion to yourself. Who hired you?

Why on earth would you spend the energy to disparage a persons appearance like this?

What is your reasoning for insulting ANYONES looks? If the best you can come up with is "well, it's an analogy", I'll offer this gem for FREE. "TV and film producers, on the other hand, appear to have done to the transportation union what my barely readable tripe has done to any future writing career I dreamed I had".

Oh, and as someone who has been a SAG member for over 10 years AND currently enjoys competing in boxing and muay thai, I find your generalizations both inaccurate and insulting.

How did you ever get hired for this job, and does your boss know this is the level of work they're paying for? My best guess is that you're some unpaid intern who was forced to write this for a real writer in order to move up from faxing duty to data entry.

Even if you're working for free, Backstage isn't getting their money's worth.

Teamsters Local 399… Sets new Area Standard at 2% to the detriment of other unions.

While Teamsters Local 399 Secretary Treasurer Leo T. Reed salary is $309,638.00 a year and climbing.

Read the LM-2 Reports on Teamsters Local 399 Secretary Treasurer Leo T. Reed salary here: http://erds.dol-esa.gov/query/getOrgQry.do
LM-2 Report # for (IBT): 000-093
LM-2 Report # for Teamsters JC42: 005-568
LM-2 Report # for Local Union 399: 036-960

Leo T. Reed (2009) salary from Local 399: $256,250
Leo T. Reed (2009) salary from JC42: $1,346
Leo T. Reed (2009) salary from IBT: $52,042

Total Salary for 2009: $309,638.00
(includes all reimbursements)

The Teamsters Leadership....just screwed the rest of us from ever getting more than 2%.

"Nikki Finke claimed that moguls “were never worried” about a possible strike." and never will be as long as Leo Reed is in office.

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