Last week, additional details emerged on the techniques employed by IATSE leadership to rally a YES vote on the proposed labor agreement with Hollywood studios. During the period of voting, union leaders were kept apprised of the voting status of members, even though vote choices were not revealed. Many local chapters used this information to send text messages to members who had not yet voted to ask them to cast their ballots. In some cases, these messages solicited members to vote YES to approve the agreement.
While most union leaders supported the agreement, the rank and file were evenly divided. In the end, the agreement was approved by razor-thin margins. Some are criticizing these aggressive tactics as unfair. “It’s disappointing to learn that the locals were targeting members who had not yet voted with encouragement to vote Yes in some cases,” said Brandy Tannahill, a member of IATSE Grips Local 80. “It seems as though it undermines the concept of a secret ballot and the neutrality and respect that should be afforded to the voting process. We will have no way of knowing whether or not the contracts would have been ratified if those text messages had not been sent out.”