Union-Made Oscars Night

By Sahid Fawaz
 
What a great year for movies!
 
American Hustle, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, and 12 Years a Slave were among the films that captivated audiences all around the world in 2013. And they are deservedly being recognized at this year’s Academy Awards show.
 
But behind all the glitz and glamor of Oscars night are the proud union members that make it all possible. They are the camera operators, actresses, directors, musicians, composers, writers, and more. They bring the creativity, do the heavy lifting, and dazzle us on the silver screen.
 
They are members of unions such as IATSE, SAG-AFTRA, the Writers Guild (East and West), the AFM, and the Teamsters. They are the people behind the awards show itself. They work hard and, because they have union contracts, earn fair wages and benefits. 
 
We feel especially proud seeing a unionized industry capture the hearts of audiences worldwide and continuing a tradition of filmmaking excellence that is second to none.
 
If you’d like to share in the tradition of Oscars night, you can use this printable nominees ballot and follow along with the show. In the meantime, enjoy this compilation of the trailers of all nine films nominiated for the 2014 Best Picture award:
 
 

Union Made Winter Olympics

By Sahid Fawaz
 
We love the spirit of the Olympics and the incredible work that the athletes devote to being their best. 
 
And we love knowing that the televised coverage that we watch is brought to us by the proud union members of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-Communications Workers of America (“NABET”).
 
As the NABET website states,
 
“When NBC Sports's coverage of the XXII Olympic Winter Games began, more than 100 NABET-CWA members were working behind the scenes in Sochi, Russia, to bring home all of the action to viewers in the U.S.
 
Several members actually have been in Sochi for months now, building studios at the International Broadcast Center and setting up cameras and other video equipment in arenas and on mountain tops throughout the Black Sea resort area.”
 
One of the reasons that the coverage is first-rate is because of the dedication to quality that comes with union craftsmanship. Union members pride themselves on staying up-to-date on training and the latest technology. The end result is exciting Olympic footage of dazzling winter sports.
 
"As world class athletes gather on the Olympic stage in Sochi, world class television professionals, members of our union, will be there as well, putting their talents on display," said NABET-CWA President Jim Joyce.” The contributions and talents of our members have played a significant role in NBC's success in broadcasting the Olympics the past two decades."
 

Bloomberg Writer Advocates for a $4 Minimum Wage

by Sahid Fawaz

Think minimum wage workers have it tough today trying to make ends meet? Michael Strain, a writer at Bloomberg, thinks the wage is not low enough.   

He states,

"If we knocked the minimum wage down to, say, $4 an hour, we would significantly mitigate employers' risk from hiring a long-term unemployed worker. Allowing employers to pay this group of people 45 percent less than other minimum-wage workers provides a strong incentive for businesses to give the long-term unemployed a shot."

And what about the fact that it’s impossible for workers to live on such a wage? Strain offers the predictable solution: have the taxpayers subsidize companies for failing to pay a livable wage. 

He argues,

"Of course, we can’t just lower the minimum wage for the long-term unemployed to $4 an hour and leave it at that. Society must have as a goal that no one who works full time and heads a household lives in poverty. This policy would have to be paired with an expanded earned-income tax credit, or with more straightforward wage subsidies -- federal transfer programs that supplement a worker’s labor market earnings with tax dollars."

Have thoughts on this proposal? Let us know in the comments.

Petition: American-made Olympic Uniforms

USA-OlympicRalph Lauren and the U.S. Olympic Committee drew the ire many Americans, including the U.S. Senate, during the 2012 Summer Games when it was discovered the uniforms the designer provided for the athletes were made abroad. Ralph Lauren took the hint for this year's Winter Games and made the uniforms right here in America. Fantastic!

We at Labor 411 want to take it a step further. We've created a petition addressed to the U.S. Olympic Committee that would require all uniforms across all sports for the U.S. Olympic Team to be made in the U.S.

We think it's a fair request, and if you do, too, please sign our petition at the link below. Let's get it done! And go U.S.A.!

Click here and sign the petition to require that all uniforms for the U.S. Olympic Team be made in the U.S.A.

Is Buying American-made Still Possible Today?

Many Americans would love to buy America-made, even if it’s a few dollars more, which often it isn't. But their main complaint is that they can’t find items that are made in America. ABC News tackled this issue by emptying the house of a real American family and then going on a quest to refurnish it with all American-made products. The result is surprising and educational.

Our Vote for Best 2014 Super Bowl Ad

Weathertech, a leading manufacturer of vehicle protection products, such as floor mats and cargo liners, surprised us all during the Super Bowl when it aired one of the best commercials that we've ever seen.

The ad shows the various objections that business “experts” often have to manufacturing in the United States and then brushes them aside, stating that Weathertech refuses to listen to proponents of offshoring. Check out the commercial for yourself:

Super Bowl 2014 with Labor 411

Super-Bowl-2014-Broncos-vs-SeahawksThe big weekend is here!

It's the Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos for the whole plate of nachos. And speaking of tasty snacks, don't forget to refer to Labor 411's Product Spotlights that will make your Super Bowl party the best in town -- and most union friendly!

See our lists below for union-made nachos, wings and munchies to fill all the snack bowls. Also, a few union brews might be popular, too.

Three Union-Made Products To Warm You Up This Winter

By Sahid Fawaz

1. Swiss Miss 

Few things are as comforting as a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day. Made by members of the UFCW, Swiss Miss is a delicious treat that is also easy to make. Using fresh milk from local farms and blended with premium imported chocolate, Swiss Miss is available in milk chocolate, mint chocolate, dark chocolate, and sugar-free flavors. Next time you get a chill, make some Swiss Miss hot chocolate and help support middle class American jobs.

2. Sterlingwear Coats

Made by members of UNITE-HERE Local 1 in East Boston, MA, Sterlingwear coats are stylish, comfortable, and all about quality. Sterlingwear’s products are made to such high standards that the company has been the exclusive manufacturer of the US Navy peacoat for over 40 years. If you’re looking for a quality coat, browse the full selection of Sterlingwear coats at www.sterlingwear.com and help support good union jobs.

3. Union-Made Wines

We love wine for many reasons, including making us feel nice and warm (alright, so alcohol technically makes the body colder but we sure like the warm feeling while it lasts). Some of our favorite union-made wines include Gallo Estate Wines, Manischewitz Wine, Turning Leaf, C.K. Mondavi Wines, and Carlo Rossi.  All are courtesy of the proud members of the UFCW. So go ahead, light the fireplace and pour yourself a glass of wine and settle in for the night knowing that you are supporting well-paying union jobs.

Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments.

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