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Panists, Steelbands and Unions - Could a Steelband Union be the answer?

Whenever the subject of unionization is brought up relative to the steel band and pan players, I'm somewhat perplexed.

What exactly would the role of this "union" be?

Is there anything that another organized body can do that PanTrinbago cannot do or should not be doing?

According to Pantrinbago's website, the organization was originally registered as a union, but became incorporated when the membership felt that a corporation would be more effective in developing and promoting the steelband.

 

I'm aware that many are dissatisfied with PanTrinbago as the defacto head of the steelband movement and believe that their leadership leaves a lot to be desired.

This may indeed be the case, but as far as I know PT is still a democratic organization, and the leadership is voted on by representatives of the steelbands.

Which places to onus on the membership to select appropriate leadership as they see fit.

 

I am all for professional panists belonging to a musicians' union, like any other musicians.

Such a union could set baseline standards for the individual performer or band, where they are not capable of negotiating for themselves.

Of course, with so many unemployed panists, any potential employer would always have the option of hiring non union players, unless we force every player in the country to join the union.

 

But in the case of a steelband union in T&T, who would the union be negotiating with?

The individual band managements?

Should leaders of every steelband have to negotiate with a union about conditions  for membership of their bands?

The Sponsors?

I've known companies that would prefer to shut down a plant before accepting a union, and I won't doubt that sponsors would do the same

The government?

Since PanTrinbago is recognized by the government as the official representative of the steelband, would there be duplicate negotiations?

Or would Pantrinbago somehow be dissolved?

 

Having been involved in organized labor myself, I'm aware that the only real weapon a union has is the ability to withhold labor, to force concessions from employers.

In other words, to strike.

Who, I wonder would these "unionized" panists strike against?

Can you imagine one week before panorama the players of Phase II Pan Groove going on strike?

I doubt they'll ever play in Boogsie's band after that!

 

In my experience, the relationship between unions and management is an adversarial one.

You come to the table with a list of demands and they present their demands for the workers during the term of the contract.

You negotiate, compromise and come to an agreement.

If you don't, you have a strike situation  in which everyone loses.

 

I do not see what benefit the steelband movement in T&T would gain from such an arrangement, but maybe I'm missing something, so those advocating for unionization  please educate me.

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Morning all. The following link is some old footage, so excuse the audio. (I know Claude Gonzales would definitely consider it "noise".) In relation to the topic, listen to what George "Sonny" Goddard's explanation of the role of the leader of a union, whether you think those things are important to the membership or not. NOTE: He says that his position as President, was "VOLUNTARY"! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUas8C8hDio

Ghost Who Knows The Truth IS The Truth, Regardless Of Who Tells It. (And regardless of how "likable" they are.) Logic and reason, have NOTHING to do with emotions. RAISE OUR INTELLECT!

UPDATE: One of the functions of a union, is to help create employment opportunities. They do so, by working with both the government and private sectors. In working with the government, they are able to get certain laws passed that ensure emphasis is placed on "job creation". This is how NATTS was able to create numerous events around the country, with various degrees of success, not for lack of effort. Keep in mind, a (for profit) corporation seeks only the interests of the stockholders, not those "employed" by the corporation. In assuming that business model, Pan Trinbago ceased being concerned with the membership (as does a union), and has since been forced to answer to those who own the company. In business, you CANNOT be both; in fact, under the (English) "Common Law" system, which, like the United States, Trinidad and Tobago adopts, the minute a "non-profit" engages in certain "for profit" practices, the government steps in and issues violations. The Trinidad and Tobago statutes define these practices, and it will serve us well to learn our "Constitution". As far as Pan Trinbago's "Constitution" goes, it specifically forbids the executive members from owning stocks and shares, that are derived from business deals done under the association. It states:

"The Association shall not have or issue shares or stock. No dividend shall be paid and no part of the property or income of the Association shall be distributed to the members or officers of the Association...The Association shall not make or grant loans to any of its employees, agents, Officers or other personnel." (Article 11, (6) and (7).

http://www.pantrinbago.co.tt/index.php?option=com_content&view=...

That is their "Constitution", and not my words, and as such, when Chief Diaz boasts that he is not giving up hi million-dollar "cash cow", he is admitting to being in violation of the "Constitution" of the very association he leads. When he was named a "shareholder" with Chief Bowei and FCL's Lambert, he was in violation. When Pan Trinbago issues shares in stock, generated by monies from "investments" like the "Greens", they are in violation of their own laws. In Trinidad and Tobago, it is now commonplace to find the lawmakers being the lawbreakers, so I guess the mindset is, "if you can't beat them...". 

I am not clear as to how that business model is better for the local panmen and panwomen of Trinidad and Tobago. In my opinion, it creates a much worse environment, for the leadership is more concerned with their "business interests", and have shown that they have no respect for their own laws or the company laws of Trinidad and Tobago. They get away with it, because NO ONE has risen up and legally challenged them. And before the resident comedians ask me, "Why don't you?", I would answer in advance by asking, "Why don't we?" As for the garbage that a "union of pan men will never occur in T&T"; we should ALL know by now that one DID occur, again in 1958. The BS that a union for the local panmen AND panwomen of "T&T", needs to be "outside", does not deserve a response. I will address the mindset that we cannot do for ourselves in our own country, which is not very complimentary. I have confident in the people of Trinidad and Tobago, and those who make up the steelbands. I have the confidence that just like they stood up against the marginalization of a post-Colonial society, and rose up out of the violence of the "steelband clashes" of the late-1940s and 1950, to unite and form a unified body, WE, THE PAN PEOPLE can do so again. They needed NO foreign intervention, NOR to be headquartered in ANY foreign country. They independently took TASPO to Britain, the National Steelband to the United States and Canada, and organised the first Panorama and Steelband Music Festivals, both of which are STILL running to this day! And, the changes made to those two events, have been PROVEN to hurt, not help. Similarly, the change Pan Trinbago made from "non-profit" to "for profit", has also been PROVEN to hurt the steelbands, not help them. The "capitalist" approach, has seen a decrease in the number of steelbands, and a decrease in the places they can play. They created the "big band"; sort of a monopoly, where the "big fish eat the little fish", and it is both naive and foolish to believe that this is good for "steelband culture". So, while may promote "corporate greed", I will continue to be bought into the pedagogical concept of Paulo Freire, where it is understood that that corporate model is the cause of the global poverty we see today. For this reason, I think like a "unionist", and I reject "cronyism". Wishing you all a blessed "Saturn Day".

Ghost.

FOLLOW UP: I just got off Skype with my mom and confirmed the SIDD's statement that "His mother too was also surprised at his behavior with me when it came to her attention in the early days.", is LIE, that is as BIG, FAT, and UGLY, as its source. My mom confirmed that she DOES NOT know Steve "Sidd" Taylor, DOES NOT know his face (as on WST), NOR DOES she have ANY knowledge of ANY issues, whether recent or from the "early days", involving myself and anyone, much less someone she DOES NOT know! (SUCH A LYING, DECEITFUL, ENVIOUS, BASTARD!) Both my mom and my brother, will be following up with Pan Trinbago, to find out who exactly is defaming my character, but knowing SIDD's preponderance to lying, I sincerely doubt that they would have been foolish enough to make such a statement. In any case, we WILL get to the bottom of this, and the GUILTY party will be held liable. (And, TRUST ME, my family has the funds and the loyalty to pursue this latest libelous act to the FULLEST extent.) This prick threatens people with lawsuits for calling him names, not understanding that there is a legal difference between calling him names, and him making libelous comments. SUCH AN ILLITERATE! 

Ghost Who Does Not Go Around Lying On People, Knowing That Shitan Is The Originator Of Lies, Envy, And Deceit!

BTW - I shared with my mom, what I think of Steve "Sidd" Taylor; that he is a "big cocksucker". My mom knows, that like my dad, I am not afraid to "cuss" these assholes. (And, anyone who KNEW my dad, would also know, that like me, my dad would have considered SIDD, just that...AN ASSHOLE!

LEAVE MY POSTINGS AND COMMENTS ALONE!!! LEAVE ME ALONE!!! (Caps and exclamations for EMPHASIS ONLY! (You lying son-of-a-bitch!) APOLOGIZE FOR LYING ON ME BEFORE I FORCE PAN TRINBAGO TO EMBARRASS YOUR SORRY ASS!!! WHEN DID THE "CYBER COPS"WARN ME, EH? YOU BIG PRICK! STOP YOUR PATHOLOGICAL LYING!!!!!! OR SEEK SOME FRIGGING HELP. RUN TO THE "CYBER POLICE". I EVER THREATEN YOU WITH VIOLENCE? I PROMISED YOU THAT I WILL KICK YOUR ASS ON ANY LEVEL IF YOU STEP TO ME, WHETHER VERBALLY, LIKE I'M DOING NOW, OR ANY OTHER WAY YOU COME! YOU MIGHT SCARE THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW THE LAW AND THE NATURE OF YOUR PATHOLOGY, BUT YOU THREATS DO NOT SCARE ME. GOT THAT? SO THE ONLY "BULLSYE" YOU SHOULD CELEBRATE, IS WHEN THE BULLSHIT YOU ARE POSTING ABOUT ME AND MY FAMILY FALLS BACK IN YOUR UGLY, ENVIOUS EYES!

GHOST WHO DOES NOT GIVE A RAT'S ASS WHAT YOU CONSTITUTE! DO A BACKGROUND CHECK ON ANY OF THE GODDARDS, AND SEE IF ANY CRIMINAL RECORDS COME UP. YOU LIBELOUS PLAYA HATER! AGAIN, LEAVE ME ALONE, OR I WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT BACK!!! TAKE THAT ANYWAY YOU LIKE AND RUN TO WHOMEVER YOU LIKE WITH IT, YOU OLD, SHRIVELED-UP BEEF-JERKY!

Believe it or not pan people, I've learned quite a lot from the "free for all" as Cecil called the discussion.

IMHO it  seems impractical to set up another body specifically representing pan players in T&T, which may or may not receive universal support from steelbands, and which may be perceived in direct competition with a powerful established body i.e. PanTrinbago, and therefore a threat to that organization.

It would seem to me that the best option for those seeking change would be  to do so within the framework of the established body, which after all is set up as a democracy somewhat like the US congress, with elected representation from each band.

One would have to do the hard work of basic politics, which means having an agenda, getting support and running a strong team of  candidates for the various offices.

After all, the current leadership was democratically elected.

As attractive as  the idea of an alternative representative body may seem to some, this strikes me as being highly unrealistic.

Of course , I live in ":foreign", so what do I know?

The last Trinidadian with ideas from "foreign" that was listened to in his home country was Dr. Eric Williams, and I'm certainly not even in his shadow!

Glenroy,

All that's needed is the right people in PanTrinbago.

LEARNED HELPLESSNESS: http://www.trinidadexpress.com/letters/Misplaced-belief-in-foreign-...  Know anyone on WST with that condition; the condition known as "learned helplessness"? Know any organization with that condition, where they believe they have to seek help from outside sources? Truly "misplaced beliefs"...in outsiders, foreigners, and foreign countries.

Ghost Who Knows What Our Problem Is? NO Confidence In Our Own Experts. smh.

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