Join us for Day 3 of the 2021 NYWIFT Summit: The Creative Industry Radically Reimagined to discuss Organized Labor and the Future of the Workplace.
Opening Welcome Keynote: Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Anne del Castillo
Anne del Castillo serves as the Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME). A native New Yorker, del Castillo has more than 25 years of experience in film and TV production, public media, and arts and nonprofit administration. Commissioner del Castillo leads MOME’s efforts to bolster the city’s creative sectors of film, television, theatre, music, advertising, publishing and digital content creation, and also cultivate a sustainable nighttime economy through the City’s first-ever Office of Nightlife. She has also served as an associate producer on the Sundance Award-winning documentary Imelda about the former First Lady of the Philippines; contributed as a panelist for the National Endowment of the Arts, Center for Asian American Media, and New York State Council on the Arts; and has presented at industry events, including South by Southwest and the Sithengi Film and TV Market in South Africa.
Panel: Organized Labor and the Future of the Workplace
Organized labor and trade associations have been at the forefront of setting the standard for safety protocol to keep production alive during COVID-19. How did they do it, and how are they tackling other issues of safety in the workplace, from racism to sexual harassment and more?
Ann Burdick is General Counsel at the Writers Guild of America East, Inc. The Guild represents over 6,000 writers in television, film, new media and broadcast and digital news. Ms. Burdick handles oversees legal affairs for the Guild including collective bargaining negotiations, grievances and arbitrations, unfair labor practices, settlement negotiations, credit arbitrations, internal elections and organizing campaigns. She implemented the Guild’s Safe Workplace Initiative and managed the Guild’s conflict of interest litigation against WME, CAA and ICM. Prior to the WGAE, Ms. Burdick served as in-house counsel at the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and New York State United Teachers. She is a graduate of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University and the George Washington University School of Law.
As Assistant Executive Director at the DGA’s Los Angeles headquarters, Mayra Ocampo facilitates the guild’s CA state and local political work in Sacramento and Los Angeles. As a part of the DGA’s senior management team, she heads the DGA’s Diversity Department and oversees the implementation of DGA’s Diversity Committees and Diversity Task Force initiatives as well as Western Independent Directors Committee.
Ocampo has more than two decades of labor union and membership organization experience. Prior to joining the DGA in 2014 , Ocampo was the Director of Government Affairs at the Nevada Local of the Service Employees International Union. She has also worked in various national and regional organizing roles for the National AFL-CIO, United American Nurses, and the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees International Union.
Rebecca Damon was first elected SAG-AFTRA executive vice president, the union’s second-highest office, in 2016. She was re-elected to a two-year term in 2017 and again in 2019. Damon, a New York-based actor and voiceover performer, was also appointed to serve as president of the New York Local in 2017, and was re-elected to the position in 2019. She is national chair of the Government Review Committee and Innovation and New Technology Committee, and serves on the Executive, Finance and Government Affairs and Public Policy committees. Currently serving on the President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement and as chair of the Member Outreach Relations & Education Committee, she is a fierce advocate for education and empowerment of performers nationwide.
A champion for workers’ rights, Damon’s leadership includes strengthening New York’s right of publicity and digital image rights for the benefit of all members. She was twice recognized as one of the most noteworthy figures on the front lines of New York this year by City and State Labor Power 100. During her tenure as Screen Actors Guild New York Division Vice President, she was a founding member of both the SAG President’s Forum for One Union and the joint Group for One Union, helping lead the effort to unite SAG and AFTRA. As co-leader of the Operations Workgroup, Damon was a key architect of the merger.
Simon Moya-Smith (moderator), is an Oglala Lakota and Chicano writer and journalist. Formerly a staff writer with The Denver Post, Moya-Smith has since contributed to MTV, CNN, VICE, USA TODAY, and NPR among others. He has a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, with a minor in Ethnic Studies, from the University of Colorado Denver. Currently, Moya-Smith is a contributing writer with NBC News as well as an adjunct professor of journalism and new media. His new book, Your Spirit Animal is a Jackass, will be available in 2021.
Closing Conversation: Unionizing Non Fiction Labor, A Year Later
This conversation revisits the lack of organized labor for documentary makers with a case study where producers, showrunners, APs and other freelance workers at a major production company have recently voted to unionize with the WGAE.
Laura McCune is a documentary television Line Producer who is most known for her work on International multi-part series such as Generation Hustle (HBOmax), Dirty Money season 2 (Netflix) and The Last Shot (Vice). As a native of Buffalo, New York, Laura grew up in a blue collar community supportive of unions, able to see firsthand the benefits of collective bargaining. As a veteran of the industry for over 15 years, 10 of those in Production Management, she found herself part of a group advocating for better working conditions within their shop; which led to organizing with the WGA East Non-Fiction Union. Laura is proud to be a small part of the drive towards unionizing Documentary work, and hopes to shine light on this workforce that is deserving of the same protections that others in our industry have successfully advocated for and won.
Andrew Greenberg is the Lead Strategic Organizer for the nonfiction campaign at the Writers Guild of America, East. The Guild has Collective Bargaining Contracts at several NYC based production companies. Most recently the Guild successfully organized VOX entertainment. He has assisted the producers and other creative professionals in negotiating sustainable schedules, creating a path to portable health care, protecting journalist integrity and ensuring fair salary minimums. The Guild continues to fight to transform an exploitive and unjust industry. Most recently this fight has been led within the guild by the nonfiction Women of Color Caucus. Prior to this he was the Research Director at Doctors Council SEIU, and he has also served his time as a graduate student in the Sociology Department at The Graduate Center. CUNY.
Hannah Smith is a Production Manager of documentary film and television with a background in narrative features, commercials, and music videos. She has been working at Jigsaw Productions for the last four years; her credits include Dirty Money, The Innocence Files, and The Crime of the Century. Hannah is also a social and political activist and volunteer: this work helped to inspire and motivate her to advocate for change in the workplace. She and her coworkers at Jigsaw recently organized with the WGA East in hopes of creating a more equitable and sustainable work environment.
Maggie Bowman (moderator) is a documentary filmmaker who joined the staff of the International Documentary Association in early 2020 to lead programming for the Getting Real Conference. She is the co-director of We Are Witnesses: Chicago—an Emmy-nominated series about Chicagoans who have been touched by the criminal justice system—and the Series Producer for Hard Earned—a duPont-winning Kartemquin Films series about American families working low-wage jobs. She is the former co-chair of the Labor and Economic Sustainability Committee of the Documentary Producers Alliance. Prior to her work in film, Bowman was a union organizer, working on campaigns with taxi drivers in the Bronx, nurses in Iowa, and home health aides in Brooklyn.
NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.