By Leo T. Reed
Thank you for your overwhelming support in the recent election where Leo Reed was re-elected 80.5% over Mitch Masoner 19.4%.
Celebrating our election victory shouldn’t last long. There are too many important issues ahead of us. This successful vote count inspires us to face our future challenges and deal with them with determination and optimism.
It is encouraging that approximately 46% of the membership made the effort to vote in the election which resulted in the re-election of their incumbent officers re-elect their incumbent officers. To me this means that you are confident our past performance and experience will prepare us for the tasks ahead. You want us to continue to tackle the important issues of jobs, secure medical benefits and quality representation.
Jobs are at the top of our list of priorities. Keeping our members working, the most important immediate goal, is also the most difficult. However, we can accomplish some major objectives.
We can make sure Teamster jobs stay with Teamsters. We are now on good terms with IATSE and we will insist that our contractual work stays with us. As the Director of the Motion Picture Division, we have excellent relations with the Teamster leadership throughout the nation. Our strength protects each other in any dispute.
Local 399 is fortunate to represent a cross-section of industry professionals — drivers, studio personnel, location managers, casting directors, couriers, prop house members, tour drivers, network drivers and other industry staff. In order to keep our members working, we have to keep the Hollywood industry healthy. In 1999 we were the first labor organization to bring the issue of runaway productions to state and local government officials. We have continued to work alongside Teamster lobbyists to convince officials that the industry needs subsidies. We will not abandon this effort.
Local 399 Business Agents and officers hold major positions on influential committees. They will step up the effort, working with the city and state, to provide incentives for local production. We will also continue to organize and bring in jobs in commercials, cable TV and new media.
We read about huge challenges that continue to plague the nation’s health care system. These are the difficult economic times when members with quality insurance feel uncomfortable as more and more workers lose their job-based health benefits.
Your health care benefits are a high priority issue that gets harder to negotiate at each contract. However, we understand their importance and will bring over two decades of experience to this matter. A unified membership will aid us in this effort as we face difficult times.
Great union representation only begins with negotiating the contract. All the wage gains, benefits and terms of working conditions must be monitored and enforced. At the bargaining table and the work site, our business agents are fully on the job, making sure the members are treated fairly and the contract is upheld. This will always continue with under my administration.
You can be assured that whenever issues arise that need attention from the local’s leadership and staff, we are here to work on behalf of the members of this great local. Our unity has made us a powerful force, and I pledge to keep up the hard work and dedication that gives us strength.