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Kung Hee Fat Choy to our 665 ‘Ohana!

This month begins the Chinese New Year. The Year of the Boar symbolizes wealth, and we’re off to a great start so far. CONGRATULATIONS to the crew of “Magnum P.I.” for getting picked up for SEASON TWO! With the two TV series, “Hawai’i Five-O” and “Magnum P.I.,” the Netflix film, “The Wrong Missy,” and “Are You the One?” on Hawai’i Island, 2019 is off to a strong start.

Additionally, members of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) flew here to visit with our politicians and reconfirmed their commitment to Hawai’i as a high priority location. This gesture caused lawmakers to introduce Senate Bill 33 (SB33) which proposes the REMOVAL of the $35 million cap from our tax credit. The bill passed its first hearing with an amendment to repeal the cap retro-active to December 31, 2018. This will allow our Film Tax Credit to continue to operate WITHOUT A CAP, and companies will be able to plan projects knowing our film industry is stable. There are at least four more hearings to go. The next hearing is with the Ways and Means (WAM) Committee. WAM will only accept written testimony, so please draft your testimony now. You can use the same testimony throughout the legislative session, but you’ll need to submit it for each hearing. It is our responsibility to make sure Hawai’i’s film industry remains strong for our future workers – some of whom will graduate from the Academy for Creative Media (ACM), the West Oahu Student Film Academy (due to open in 18 months) or enter the industry some other way.

Which brings me to the topic of Production Assistants (PA’s) and Referrals. What are they allowed to do? Are they covered by our contracts? PA’s are an entry-level, non-union position. They are allowed to pass out distribution, take lunch orders, make copies – basic office or set duties for the department. Our contracts do not cover PA’s, and they are not allowed to do union work. Sometimes, when the Department is in a rush, they will ask the PA’s to “help out” with union duties. This is unacceptable. Most PA’s do not know that they are doing something wrong. They are just doing what they are told. The employers are quick to correct it when they are made aware, but our own IATSE bosses are the ones who keep using PA’s to save time or money. Department Heads need to ask their Production Manager for more union workers and should not use PA’s. Using non-union workers dilutes the hard-fought terms of our bargaining agreements. Having said that, we should encourage PA’s who show potential to join a union someday.

Referrals, on the other hand, work in union positions when approved by the Business Agent and when experienced members are unavailable. I explained the referral process in detail in September’s newsletter. Interviews are by appointment only now, and much consideration goes into the selection of our referrals. Once they start working, I rely heavily on feedback from the field. If they aren’t working out, they shouldn’t make their 30 days.

Finally, training continues to be a priority for Rick, me, and our trainers, and OSHA Training will be scheduled during the hiatus. MAHALO to everyone for staying politically alert and ACTIVE. Growth = Strength.

In Solidarity ~ Irish Barber

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