The Awesomeness of 'Black Panther': Union Made

Wow, the "Black Panther" movie was awesome, wasn't it? And while we could spend hours about how great an action movie it is or how beautiful it looks or the social implications of the themes and representation of African culture, let's take a few minutes to look behind the scenes at the work it took to bring a movie like "Black Panther" to life, work done by union members.

Let's start with the cast of superb performers such as Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Daniel Kaluuya and many others. They are among the group of 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcaster journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voice-over artists and other media professionals who are members of SAG-AFTRA.

The screenplay, one of the better writing jobs ever done for a superhero movie, was written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, members of Writers Guild of America West, which represents thousands of writers who create content for television shows, movies, news programs, documentaries, animation and the web.

If you waited around to see the post-credits surprise that Marvel movies offer, just before the last scene starts, you might notice the Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) logo. That's because a wide range of jobs on a movie set are filled by IATSE members, including art directors, costume designers, make-up artists, hairstylists, studio lighting technicians, set painters and script supervisors. In other words, all the people who made one of the most beautiful films in recent memory are IATSE members. That goes for the visual images on the screen as well, as the International Cinematographers Guild is an affiliate of IATSE. So are the more than 7,200 members of the Motion Picture Editors Guild and the members of the Animation Guild who create not only animated films, but the visual effects in movies like "Black Panther," too.

Other roles on movie sets also are filled with union members—from Electrical Workers (IBEW) to the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) to Laborers (LIUNA)—everywhere you look on set, you find working people who have joined together in union to negotiate a fair return for their work. Work that entertains and informs millions.

And there is actually more. From the drivers, couriers and animal handlers of the Teamsters union to the filmmakers represented in the Directors Guild of America, the working people on a big movie set like "Black Panther" know that their collective voice not only protects their rights and their livelihood, but gives them leverage in bringing such great entertainment to the rest of the world.

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Reposted from the AFL-CIO

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From AFL-CIO

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work