There’s a story doing the rounds today about the actors’ union denying Peter Jackson entry to a union meeting. It’s basically Jackson having a good old whine about how it just shows how unreasonable the union is being and how they won’t even talk to him.
Life must be so hard when you’re a multi-millionaire who doesn’t understand employment law.
Considering Jackson refuses to hire his staff under employment contracts and forces them all to work as independent contractors I can see why he might be a little bit confused about how these things work. So I’ll explain it really simply.
Union meetings are for union members. They’re not for employers. They’re not for “industry people”. And they’re very rarely for media.
The reasoning is simple. Union members, in order to negotiate collectively, need to have a forum where they can discuss the issues freely and openly without the employer breathing down their neck. They also need to be able to agree on a negotiating strategy without their employer finding out in advance what that strategy is. That would kind of defeat the purpose of having a strategy.
Likewise, employers don’t tend to invite union reps to sit in on management meetings about how they plan to handle contract negotiations with the union.
The place for unions and employers to negotiate is at the negotiating table, not at each other’s planning meetings.
It is a worry that Peter Jackson is so woefully misinformed about how employment relationships work, but I guess it’s what we should expect from a man who’s built his business on forcing people to work as “independent contractors” and threatens capital flight the moment his workers start organising.