The Real Cost of Circumventing
Written by @justdontcallmeeddie
Circumvention: No, it's NOT a tradition practiced on male infants NOR is it a witty name for an adult film convention.
Circumvention [Circumventing] is the act of bypassing your client and going direct to his end-client; and allowing that end-client to hire you directly, thereby "circumventing the individual or company that originally made the connection for you to begin with.
so what does that mean?
When a stagehand is introduced to the employer by a labor company, who then purposefully and deceptively solicits the employer, with the intention of soliciting jobs unknown to the labor company; or
When the employer or hiring company uses contact info provided by the labor company or solicits the stagehand directly, with the purposeful and deceitful intention of offering the stagehand to work as a freelancer without the labor company's knowledge,
We’ve noticed that this trend has grown recently and it actually has a negative impact for all stakeholders involved. We wanted to share a little insight about how and why this behavior has a long term negative influence.
so what's wrong with that?
It's widely accepted as unethical (although some companies see no malpractice). And certainly there are reasons to go around or go direct some times. But those legitimate reasons are specific and do not lend to the negative impact on morale or quality of service that direct circumvention can have - and I'm faced with two cases of it right now.
For the most part, the overall stagehand community, and the companies that hire crew through crewing companies, understand and respect the industry ethics surrounding their relationship with each other and their union brothers. Sadly, sometimes an innocent stagehand can be adversely affected if the hiring company puts pressure on them, while they are trying to be noble. The crewperson may actually run the risk of losing the client either way [thru the labor company and direct].
In short, it’s understood that stagehands are expected to protect the relationship between the end-client [the hiring company known as employers] and the stagehand's actual client [the labor company, labor broker or independent labor coordinator]. The end client is not the stagehands client to begin with.
still don't get it?
Imagine when we were kids, and we're all out on the playground, and you just happen to be an amazing friend that was generous ands selfless in giving. You liked to see your friends happy, so ever day you brought some brand new toy, never been touched, nothing broken off, everything perfect. And there was this one kid that every day, he would take the toy, push you down, and walk away laughing. But you being the amazing you that you are, keep bringing a new toy, every day, believing that he must have learned his lesson by now. He must see the folly of his ways now. This time, maybe he'll bring some of his toys, and we'll build a toy empire...
But every day is much like the last one. The new toy is stripped away, you are pushed to the ground, your friends won't help you out and instead just laugh at you while astonishingly enough, asking if they can play with your toys, but with the other kid. You think this sounds far fetched or not aligned. Well consider, just our company spent thousands on recruiting and double that on marketing last year. All that investment into marketing, the time, the resources, the money - and we earned the right to monetize them. So how fair is it if Jeff started hiring me just long enough for me to put on other hands, in essence, strangling myself. Just another story of a school yard bully.
Basic Safe Practices
I was working with some younglings last week, and it's part of my regular conversation, we spent a good amount of time on workplace safety. As I listed various practices, I spent a little time on "the why" behind the practice, and share examples of how a failure to follow procedure might result in an accident - or worse, a tragedy.
As I went through the most common, I started to realize how many of my examples were from accidents that I witnessed or affected someone I knew personally. Albeit, I've been doing this for a number of years, but I was still shocked at the number of accidents that I could personally speak to. At one point, I even stopped and said, "Damn, this job really can be dangerous." I say that to mean, as we go about our day, so much is process and procedure that we can take for granted the actual danger that surrounds us.
So I figured I would share some common, important best practices and safety protocols and the "why" behind them. This is for the new kids, of course. But also, as much for us vets that forget how dangerous the job can be - not only if we don't follow protocol, but if we fail to teach and correct those around us.
"Lift[gate] Coming In" [dock safety]
When loading or unloading a bobtail truck or any box with a lift gate, always call it when you start to move the lift gate. Loading and unloading can be fast paced, but mindless - and often filled with a number of conversations. A stagehand that's not paying attention can lose a toe under the gate or a finger in the chain or maybe take a rider to the side of the head because they don't realize the head, and hastily set load is now moving.
Although I've seen a few accidents, some more costly than other, the one that involved human injury is what were focused on here. So I'm reminded of a load-in where the truck's owner was screaming at his crew. As they unloaded the truck, he berated his guys, screaming obscenities and insulting them. I guess we know why the lift operator didn't call out that the lift was coming in - but it was and good ol' company owner didn't hear it over his own voice. In fact he didn't turn to face the load until the lift was inches from his feet, and caught off guard, he didn't jump back in time until he came down on his foot. He didn't finish the load-in,. His guys did, and at least it was quieter.