Steven Leigh Morris  – LA Weekly

“If you want to give it away, get out of the union!”

I’ve heard that cry, all the way from the East Coast.

I teach for Cal State University and I belong to a union I love – the California Faculty Association. I walked into the theater department office at Cal State last week, and the secretary handed me a sizable check, mid-month in what’s normally a monthly pay cycle. I wasn’t expecting it. “What’s this?” I asked. “Your bargaining unit just got you guys a pay raise.”

How can you argue with a union like that, or with unions in general? If I want to take work in a non-union house – say U.S.C. or CalArts, no problem with my union. They’re protecting my ability to choose how I spend my time, and meanwhile, they’re in the trenches with my university’s administration fighting for better pay.

So can we please put to bed the ludicrous argument that because some people, such as me, or Tim Robbins, or city councilman Mitch O’Farrell, feel that the stage actors’ union, Actors Equity Association, is behaving appallingly in its treatment of the 99-Seat Plan and Los Angeles area theater, that we’re union-bashing. Read more…