Joining the journalist union

I joined the Paris branch of the UK journalists union tonight and had my first induction to union meetings.

From what I can gather, first impressions, you have to wear brightly coloured socks, waffle on about nothing, endlessly, and propose motions about sending heavily worded letters to various journalistic institutes deemed not have been ‘impartial’. Lucky these motions are then put to a vote, which forces you to take a side on whether you support impartiality or not.

Still, a good networkng event, a fun social activity, and I get a press card, at some point.

Everyone was friendly enough, if an air of doom and gloom didn’t prevail all proceedings. Something like 200 journo jobs were slashed in the UK last week. The general feeling is that the ‘finanical crisis’ is being used as a cover to fire even more staff than necessary – when executives are still taking home large pay cheques.

One guy then pointed out that the UK journalists have been complaining of low pay for years and the union has never struck. The reason? The union hack spoke: “Because if they did strike, the journalists would get the sack,” adding, “which they would probably get anyway. ”

Then came the big moment, time to vote on new memberships. There were four of us, and we all had to leave the room while they voted. I was a little unorganised, and therefore rushed up to the front table, pulling a fistful of membership papers and a blank cheque out of my bag, and thrusting it into the hand of the chairman.

“Oh you want to join too? That’s great news,” he said. “Go and wait outside with the others.”

It was only upon walking outside of the room and hearing the door loudly click shut, that I realised among the papers that i’d had in my bag, was a comprehensive list of medical tests and prescriptions i had been carrying around since going to the doctor yesterday. It was no longer in my bag.

Yes, in lieu of submitting a completed membership form, blank cheque and clippings of recent published work, I had submitted a full and frank assessment of the various ailments and maladies I have had in the past six months, including my broken toe (Saturday’s accomplishment), Borneo skin fungus, and the doctor’s recommendation that I should go to the sexual health clinic and get myself tested, pronto.

Whatever they made of this I’m not sure, but I guess they liked (even approved?) what they saw, because they ultimately accepted my membership request.

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One Response to “Joining the journalist union”

  1. When foursomes aren’t awesome « Tintin in Paris Says:

    […] foursomes aren’t awesome By arbourman Each month at the journalists’ union meeting in Paris, a member gets up and presents the freelance report, recounting the various freelance […]

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