I have danced in more than 50 music videos, with artists such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga, Prince and many, many others. Every dancer’s worst work experience, I can guarantee you, has happened on a music video. It is a crapshoot for each video we accept. The music video industry is the dance world’s lawless Wild West. That is why we have decided to stand up for ourselves.
It’s About Time music video dancers have a fair union contract. If you see me or my fellow dancers on the Grammys, we are working under a union contract. If you see us in movies, commercials, or Dancing with the Stars, for example, we have a union contract. But when you watch dancers perform in music videos, we are working without a union contract and without basic protections on the job and no hope of insurance or pension benefits.
Among the big political news this week was the release of the Legislative Peer Review Group’s report on the California high-speed rail project. The report recommends that the state freezes the project “at this time” until further assessment is done on its long-term feasibility. Problem is, the report was completed with minimal consultation with the California High-Speed Rail Authority, and ignored many of the details on feasibility included in the Authority’s recent business plan.
Opponents seized on the erroneous report to further their campaign to derail the project. While it might make good politics for some conservatives to oppose a signature program of the Obama White House, it certainly doesn’t make for good policy.
Two months after KPFA's union discovered that the station's parent corporation Pacifica was illegally raiding the 403b pension funds of its union members for as long as 18 months, the network has finally admitted to workers that “during the past few years employee contributions . . . were not deposited into your accounts on a timely basis.”
The pension contributions come from employees' own earnings. Pacifica had been deducting money from paychecks but not always depositing it in individuals' 403b accounts, a violation of federal law and a form of wage theft.
The Legislative Analyst's Office has found that ballot measures being sponsored by leading state Republicans would bring “large uncertainty” to the state's pension systems, cost governments $1 billion more per year for the next 30 years, and likely would force state and local governments to pay more to compensate teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other public employees. And that's just for starters.
The LAO hit the nail on the head about these sloppily-drafted and extreme ballot measures being advanced by right-wing Republicans. These unworkable initiatives will be an economic disaster for our state, be tied up in the courts for years, result in no significant savings for decades, and squeeze California's middle class even more.