Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #631: Questions You Must Ask Yourself

Welcome to the show folks...

It's been a while since I talked about unions but today has brought me a union story. The entire Italian film and TV industry is going on strike on Monday, November 22.

Now I have always had a fondness for Italy, Italian women, Italian food, and Italian movies. The country brought us Fellini, De Sica, and most importantly Sergio Leone and the Spaghetti Western. The strike is to protest the cuts to arts funding that are part of the Italian government's wider austerity program.

I'm not going to debate the cause of this strike.
Economists and politicians have literally wasted decades arguing such things, what I'm going to talk about is the strategic value of this strike. How do you judge the strategic value of anything? You ask yourself important questions.

1. What are my goals for this action?

Before engaging in a strike, the leaders must have
set and concrete goals to attain from that strike. They must also grade these goals by order of importance for future negotiation.

2. How possible are those goals?

The days when people can believe that a strike will make the proletariat rise up, man the barricades, tear down the establishment, and have burly men in overalls breaking wind in the palaces of the mighty are long over.

Unions must set goals that are practical and possible. Impossible goals are merely bargaining chips to be disposed of in negotiation. You must have your minimum targets for a settlement set, and remember that glorious proletariat revolution cannot be one of them.

3. What are the tactical considerations of this action?

How are you going to handle this strike? How will union members pay their bills, get to picket lines? How long will it last? How long can it last? And do you have the resources to handle all this?

If you can't answer every single one of these questions, then you should not be leading a union, or anything of importance.

4. How will our opponents react/exploit this action?

Remember, you're up against media savvy politicians who will do anything and everything to make you look like the tax-fattened leech in the situation. You must figure out what you can do to get and keep the general public on your side, and how to avoid the traps set by both your opponents and the radical fringe within your own union.

I hope the union leaders have thought about these questions, because if they haven't and are just playing political games with the livelihoods of their members they might be in the wrong job.

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