This is one of those “me thinking aloud” posts:
Former ILM General Manager and Digital Domain Founder Scott Ross wrote a post that hastily concludes:
The first step in executing the above is the formation of an International Trade Association. And so here we are again, full cycle yet 20 plus years later. Let’s hope that the powers that be are less paranoid today than back in the 80′s. The time has come to organize.
While I’m no lawyer, the studios (and or non-members) will probably break the trade association by arguing that the facilities are inhibiting competition:
The Court held that “no elaborate industry analysis is required to demonstrate the anticompetitive character of such an agreement”, and that “the Rule of Reason does not support a defense based on the assumption that competition itself is unreasonable”.
In other words, the studios will argue that such an association is unjust because it was formed specifically to stifle competition through rules that prevent underbidding or adjust prices on consumers (Studios in this case) or employees (See ILM/Pixar Poachgate).
However, it is perfectly legal and constitutional for a group of consumers or workers to form organizations that ensure business or price standards: A union.
So what should Scott Ross do?
Well you’ll probably laugh but I actually think he should form his own separate labor organization. As ridiculous as that sounds, it actually is a more feasible path to attaining his goal.
He could hire a lawyer, draft a proposal of how professionals who join this new labor organization will only work on projects on a “cost plus” contract which will eliminate bid contracts. Let’s also assume he skips all the goodies for the employees (i.e. portable health insurance and retirement, enforcement of labor law. ) for the sake of argument. After reaching a majority of rep cards signed he essentially has the right to walk into a facility to basically bargain and implement his plan for the VFX industry.
Sound ridiculous? As I’ve said before I’ve always found it odd that VFX professionals have supported Scott Ross, an individual with the view that their jobs will all go to India and China. However, isn’t it a bit of a stretch to believe big VFX facilities are going to join Scott Ross’s trade organization? Has any facility agreed to join or was Mr. Ross violating the eleventh commandment?