November 27, 2021
Ithaca, NY | 31°F

Opinion

Editorial: Support needed for union in entertainment industry

Members of the Ithaca College community have expressed support for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, its territories and Canada. The IATSE provides support to establish fair working conditions for workers in all arts, media and entertainment. Over 13,000 Ithaca College Roy H. Park School of Communications alumni work in the entertainment industry. In supporting the IATSE, we support our alumni and contribute to creating better working conditions that many students will be going into after they graduate. The COVID-19 pandemic allowed workers to step back and evaluate the conditions they were working in and how they needed to change. Many workers were working seven days a week for lower wages than they received on unemployment. 

The workaholic mindset is something familiar to many students at the college. This mentality is slowly being dismantled in this generation, but it remains prominent in many competitive fields of work including the entertainment industry. That is slowly changing and many students and professionals are recognizing that while there does need to be hard work, it shouldn’t be hard physically or mentally. Students who are studying and working toward securing the exact positions these workers are unsatisfied with and overworked from will benefit from the change the IATSE is trying to implement. The IATSE is currently fighting to ensure conditions improve and workers are paid fair wages for the work they put in.

When many Park students envision their futures, there is this common misconception that it is expected from them to put in endless hours of hard work for low pay to be able to move up. The IATSE recognizes that this is not fair or reasonable and when Jack Powers, interim dean of the Park School, shared his public support for the IATSE, it shed light on the industry for many students who are invested in joining this line of work. It’s so important that students are kept up to date on how the industry is evolving. Our classes do a great job of preparing students, but it’s necessary to see unhealthy cycles be broken and for serious changes to be made to the entertainment industry, for the good of the college’s alumni and for all those who are working in entertainment. 

Clarification: A previous version of this editorial stated that Ithaca College expressed support for the IATSE. Ithaca College has not made any statements regarding support or lack thereof about the IATSE. 

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