Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Notices - Top Cel Vol 1, #7: 4/14/44. Fight with Terrytoons

The plan is to post these Top Cel newsletters from the East Coast Animation Union on Tuesdays.  It will most likely fail miserably, but sometimes it better to know beforehand.

This issue is one of the most compelling.  The Union is engaged in a drag down fight with Paul Terry.  It's starting to get ugly.

The issue ends with a remarkable letter from a soldier to his wife (most likely an ink and paint girl at Terry).


On the War Labor Board's opinion published in Top Cel last week.

The Union objects to the report of the Hearing Officer with regard to wages, grievance procedure, vacations, union security, sick leave, military service and farming out work.  The Union has based its requests on what it understood to be sound and fundamental principle of WLB policy, the stabilization of working conditions throughout an industry.  This principle was completely ignored.

The Union is puzzled by the paragraph on page 8 reading:

"the the foregoing increases be made without prejudice to right of the Union to apply for further wage increases should the WLB establish appropriate job classification and sound tested going rates."

It is the understanding of the Union that the present policies of the WLB allows us to receive increases up to the minimum of the sound and tested going rates in the industry and that it requires the setting up of job descriptions and rage ranges so some logic can be introduced into chaotic wage structures.  No provision at all is made for a study of the industry.

Under the Hearing Officer's report the employer can still hire people for Fifteen Dollars per week, still continue to demoralize his employees by manipulating jobs and rates because no formal system exist at the plant.

Sound and Tested Going rates.  In determining the going rates, the Board will require to define the labor market area.  There is no doubt that the industry does not restrict its hiring to local talent.  That the flow of labor is fluid is manifest from the list of names submitted to the WLB.

Grievance Procedure.  To limit the scope of this procedure is to run counter to the express public statement of Chairman Davis urging upon all employers and unions the practice of making provisions for the arbitrations of grievances not otherwise disposed.

A procedure of unlimited scope is particular necessary in this case where the employer's antipathy to the union has been so manifest that the NLRB saw fit to order the employer to reinstate with full back pay two employees.  When an employer of this type is involved it is inevitable that disputes and grievances will arise.

Vacation.  The Union is requesting that standard vacation clause in the industry.  The intense concentration required, the high degree of painstaking care that must be observed, and the continual heavy strain on the eyes all combine to make a two week vacation after one year essential.

Union Security.  Although the Union recognizes the WLB policy, it feels that this is an unusual case wherein every other plant in the industry is afforded greater protection through a union shop clause.

Sick Leave.  There is no reason why the employees at this plant should not receive the same consideration, especially where the employer, throughout negotiations, conceded that they were entitled to it.

Military Service.  The Union has requested that a clause be included guaranteeing reemployment to draftees and volunteers equally under certain conditions after their discharge.  It is difficult for the union to understand how anyone can argue against this clause or how any government agency can deny its inclusion.  The equities of the case are too obvious to discuss.  To refuse to agree to outlaw discrimination between draftees and volunteers is betrayal the men who are dying so that we may live.  To legally direct such discrimination is worse.

Farming Out Work.  That the practice is frowned upon is manifest fro the fact that every other plant outlaws it by contract.

Those were our Comments on the Hearing Officer's recommendations to the Regional Board.  We must now await the decision of the Regional Board which is usually final.  If we disagree witht he Regional Board's decision, we can appeal to the National War Labor Board in Washington, D. C.


Accepted the Executive Board's recommendations to pay our debt to the West Coast Local; to waive dues for the Treasurer, Financial Secretary and Dues Collector at Famous; to void office if Board member misses two consecutive meetings; complied with request of NY District Council urging full participation by the AF of L in the Allied Labor Conference; elected Calpini, Socolov and Reden as our representatives from Famous Unit to the Labor-Management Committee; to pay the train fare of the four Board's members from Terry; established the Work Permit system by which non-members will remain so for a six month period, paying .50 cts per week.

A Program Committee with Dave Tendler, chairman, Joe Deneroff, Lee Donahue, Iris Tomber, and Edna May Regal was created to organize social or educational affairs.  We would like to hear your suggestions.

Likewise, the Labor-Management Committee, (Calpini-Reden-Socolov) would like to know your ideas about improving working conditions or the relationship with the company.


These are the Comments on the Hearing Officer's report and on our Comments published above:

"Terrytoons, Inc. object strenuously to the report which provides that increases granted in it may be further enlarged 'should the WLB establish job classifications and sound tested going rates' unless the employee is given a right to be heard.

The entire attitude of the Union has been unsound and would, in the light of the failure to give any proff of an accurate character to the Hearing Officer, seem to be utter false and indeed falsified." (Fighting words, McGee!)

"At the time of the hearing claims similar to those contained in the Union's objections were made. It was understood at that time that proof of the Union's contentions would be submitted and documented.  The Attorney for the Union seeks to assume facts which he not only has not proven but his very past performances cannot prove."

(Prove what?.. that the industry is nationwide... that Terry is the only studio paying $15.00.. that everyone in the industry has two weeks vacation, sick leave, etc.?  What better proof than the contracts with the rest of the industry?)

"The foregoing comments take care of the entire situation with the possible exception of 'Grievance Procedure'.  The argument of the Union is irrelevant.  The Employer is agreeable to having a contract covering all possible matters which may become issues.  It is not required to have every dispute of any kind whatsoever submitted to an outside person.  The theory of the Union..." (and the theory of the rest of the Unions in the country, Mr. Wm. Davis, Chairman of the WLB and the US Government) "is to place an outside in the position of running the affairs of the Employer in so far as its relation with the employees are concerned. Let the Union determine what matters should be subject to arbitration and if..." (good, dear old 'if') "at all within reason, Terrytoons Inc. will agree to have those matters incorporated in the contract.

The Employer wishes to make the following statement:

1) The Union and its representatives have deliberately misrepresented the facts to the Board."  (In other words,  we are all liars)

2) The Union has failed utterly to present any of the fact which it claims to support its position on the various matters in issue. (!)

3) For some unknown reason to the Employers, the Union has deliberately and possibly maliciously engaged in a campaign of avoiding the execution of the contract. (one laugh.)

4) The Employer has always been agreeable to arriving at terms for and executing a contract.  The Union has used every device to avoid an amicable conclusion. (two laughs!  Let's quickly destroy the records before the NY Mediation Board where the company twice repudiated its agreement with the Union.)

5) The very character of the...

...Union's presentations, requires that we be given an opportunity in the event the Board decides to consider this matter at all, -which we very seriously doubt it will- of being heard orally so that the Union may be put to the proof of its fantastic claims which it has not presented.

The employer respectfully requests:

That the rates fixed in the Hearing Officer's decision be permanent for the duration of the contract, if and when the Union is willing to sit down and agree to one."

(The rates suggested: if making less than $15.30 you go up to $20.00; if making more, everyone gets $4.70 regardless what bracket you are in!)

"The Employer feels that the WLB at this time, and as he has always requested, direct that a contract be executed.  In the alternative, if the report is accepted, the Employer emphatically request, that it be given an opportunity to be heard on the fantastic claim of the Union with respect to the matter of comparable wages and on the matter of establishing appropriate job classifications and sound tested going rates in so far as they affect this employer."

We fail to see in there hysterical Comments any proof that the guys don't travel from one coast to the other, or that anyone in this industry is making $15.00 for inbetweening, or that in the rest of the six studios the animators make less that $90.00 & $70.00.  Is there any plant where after one year one does not get two weeks vacations?  Is any studio discriminating against the soldiers? All the dramatics of the attorney for the Employer with his not too clever use of adjectives (false, unsound, falsified, malicious) have not contested a single of the Union's points.

One member at the meeting commented that the only truth in the little paper is the fact that we "deliberately and maliciously" are avoiding to sign HIS contract not ours.  Our position today is the same one it was six months ago.  We feel we are entitled to the same conditions at Terry's as exist in the rest of the industry.


Our report from Famous Studios is that the members in that plant are taking seriously our rules and obligations with the company and that practically everyone is making the effort to be paid up to April including the balance of their initiation fees, by the 25th.  of this month, the date line given by the Executive before we ask Mr. Buckweld to enforce our agreement.

As we all know, our by-laws determine that a member is in good standing only if his dues are paid up ONE MONTH IN ADVANCE; and that our contract with Famous requires management to keep in its employ only members in good standing.

There were some that felt that until the WLB approves the contract agreed upon, out obligations should not start.  Of course the position was wrong, because we are now operating under the contract will all its rights and responsibilities, in spite of the fact that we are not collecting the increases yet.

(from The Animator) [NOTE: I don't this is in any issue we've posted.  Would be April 1944)

A Union must show whether it is vital and alive, capable of adjusting to, meeting and beating new conditions and antagonists.  Our strength is in union, but if that strength is not used against the real menace, there is no strength.

Conditions have changed, agreements between employer and union no longer control the standard of living... Government agencies now tell you not only how much you shall get, but decide how much that wage will buy.

The real menace is the sick, the halt and the blind politicians who have so muddled the workings of these government agencies that it has been impossible to create a stable national wartime economy.

That such stability is necessary to the war effort is obvious, and it must also be apparent that if it is not achieved the problems the post war adjustment will be greatly aggravated...

The only weapon left us is political action, action that will get out of office the dunderheads who freeze wages and not prices, who put in half ceilings, whose anti-labor legislation threatens the whole labor movement.


New members at Famous:  Muriel Batherman, Jack Mendelsohn, Tillie Lippman & Marilyn Liebling..... Dick Marion from the Coast now at the Signal Corp... Sgt Jack Zander on furlough... Woody Gelman out for a week...


"...I am sorry about the WLB decision.  It surely is a set back that is unexpected, but perhaps you gain something by an appeal.

I would not oppose a strike if every other avenue has been tried, but until then, it is probably not a good idea.  I am not close to the case, but if you have any confidence in your union, play along with them and do not desert them the first time they seem to have let you down.  They haven't, in all probability, and will keep on fighting for you, surely they'll do more than you could accomplish alone.

Not only I am unopposed to war time strikes, but I think that's the time for them.  When you have management  by their neck, squeeze it, because when they have you there, they most assuredly strangle you.

If I were face with death on a battlefield I would infinitely prefer to die for something I believe in, die for inadequate equipment caused by strikes that would give labor at home strength, than to die so that Paul Terry could make another million, Ford another billion.

The papers are full of how labor is not doing its utmost for the war effort, but not a word about management's even more numerous iniquities.  It may seem difficult for you to endorse your own union and pay dues now when apparently nothing is to be gained for it, but actually this is very short-sighted viewpoint.  The unions are on your side, don't forget it.  Management is on the other.  It is as simple as that.

People will say I'm painting a picture in black and white, but it is necessary to do this.  They  are doing it themselves.  Are not there liberals in Germany and Japan?  Do not our enemies have culture and refinement?  Of course they do, but to recognize that in the middle of the war we are fighting against them would be suicide.  We have recognized the Nazis and the Japanese as our bitter enemies, enemies that must be annihilated without consideration for the "good Germans" or "bad Germans".

In the class war, we must also recognize our enemies, mark them as such, and know how to deal with them.  The end of this war will see the beginning of another just as sinister, and your enemy will not be the Russians nor the English, but Americans -Americans fascists and reactionaries, the Dies block, the Hoffmans, Cox's, Smiths, Peglers, etc.  Your side include the Will Rogers Jrs., the Peppers, the Roosevelts and the Unions, so stick with them......"

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