The next time your phone buzzes with an incoming message, that could be the sound of our post-production community growing stronger. The Editors Guild wants to make sure that your connection to a colleague who has your back is never further away than the phone in your pocket.
Most unions rely upon shop stewards to advocate for members’ interests and to promote members’ involvement in the mission of the union. Together, a union’s shop stewards comprise a network of grassroots leadership with the reach to represent the organization in every workplace. They ensure that individual rank-and-file members know what’s happening with the larger organization and that the larger organization knows what’s happening with rank-and-file members. In short, they keep the union organized.
The Editors Guild, too, has shop stewards representing the Guild in those facilities in which our members work consistent, long-term jobs. But the vast majority of our members work as freelancers, without enduring connections to a specific workplace and a stable set of coworkers. Freelancers can fall through the cracks of our shop steward system.
That’s why we’re launching a new program to build a network of shopless stewards that we’re calling Member Advocates. These are fellow Editors Guild members who volunteer to connect their colleagues to the work of our Guild, wherever those colleagues happen to be. Because they’re freelancers with whom you probably won’t share a worksite, they’ll be keeping in touch primarily via text messaging.
Unlike most unions’ traditional shop stewards, these Member Advocates won’t be tasked with enforcing contracts — they’re not going to intervene with your supervisor when you’re pressured to work through a lunch break — but they will ensure that you get the access you need to union leadership and staff, including the field representatives who handle enforcement concerns. Most importantly, they’ll make sure your relationship to your union consists of more than just a weekly e-mail in your spam filter or a quarterly dues bill in your mailbox; they will provide a connection to a colleague who cares about all post-production professionals enjoying greater respect and greater clout on the job.
If you have a question about the Guild’s peer-to-peer outreach initiative, talk to your Member Advocate, or write to the Guild’s organizing department at Organizing@editorsguild.com.