WHY HAVE AN ENTERTAINMENT UNION IN BERMUDA?
Over these past several decades since the existence of our Union, we have seen great fluctuation in the utilization, development, respect and appreciation of local entertainers and entertainment. Most of the influence has been navigated by hoteliers, pub & restaurant owners, governments and the entertainers themselves. Although time has progressed, unfortunately the mind set of many included in these entities has not. In the early years of Brian and Sandy Butterfield, Gene Steede, Kenny & Carol Bean, The Esso Steel Band, and the like, we found Bermudian entertainers working on a consistent basis even if they had to come in through the back door and change in the kitchen. Today’s entertainers can come in through the front door, can change in appropriate rooms, but can’t find the work to maintain or entertain. Back then we had the big band sounds of Ghandi Burgess, entertainment packages that included limbo dancers, comedians and a band representing some of Bermuda’s finest entertainers in many of our finest resorts. However, today there’s a struggle to get anything more than a 2 piece on a regular gig. Back then quantity and quality were in sync and merged together for the betterment of tourism, business development, entrepreneurialship and the advancement of creative arts locally. Today quantity is non-existent and quality is not far behind. Therefore, it is time to regroup, retrieve and reinvent our passion as local entertainers for local entertainment. And the BEU is here to help you achieve these goals.
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) states that, “Unions are about a simple proposition: By joining together, working women and men gain strength in numbers so they can have a voice at work about what they care about. They negotiate a contract with their employer for things like a fair and safe workplace, better wages, a secure retirement and family-friendly policies such as paid sick leave and scheduling hours. They have a voice in how their jobs get done, creating a more stable, productive workforce that provides better services and products. Always adapting to the challenges of our nation’s evolving workforce, unions are meeting the needs of workers in today’s flexible and nontraditional work environments. Because no matter what type of job workers are in, by building power in unions, they can speak out for fairness for all working people in their communities and create better standards and a strong middle class across the country.” Author and union strategist Jackie Lohrey simply puts it this way, “Labor unions exist to give a voice to working men and women.”
With that said, The Bermuda Entertainment Union must be an expression of the hopes and aspirations of you, our local entertainers. Therefore, what we do must be mandated by you.
If you want us to continue the fight for immigration policies that support local entertainer’s …then we’ll do it.
If you want us to continue the fight for local talent to be able to sell their product after performing at the America’s Cup… then we’ll do it.
If you want us to continue the fight for more local entertainer’s during the Bermuda Festival …then we’ll do it.
If you want us to continue the fight for more local entertainer’s in our hotels and pubs …then we’ll do it.
If you want us to continue the fight for a longer work season in our hotels and pubs …then we’ll do it.
If you want us to continue the fight for quality equipment, staging and space in our hotels and pubs …then we’ll do it.
If you want us to continue the fight for discounts in our local stores …then we’ll do it.
If you want us to continue the fight for healthcare and pension options …then we’ll do it.
If you want us to continue the fight for our own facility that accommodates local entertainment, local cuisine, artwork and playwrights, youth and professional development, historical information, etc. …then we’ll do it.
If you want us to continue the find solid investments for our finances and ensure a solid financial future for our union…then we’ll do it.
If you want us to continue to explore more creative opportunities for employment…then we’ll do it.
We are here for you, but you must be in it to win it. That means you as entertainers must better support your union. You as entertainers must better prepare yourselves for entertaining. Don’t wait until you get a gig to start practicing. Make sure you always have an up to date portfolio. If you don’t have one, we will help you. Ensure that your repertoire, equipment, contracts, rider and presentation is updated and available continuously. Learn more about the island to communicate more effectively with our tourists during performances through certified programs like the Blue Ribbon curriculum endorsed by the BTA. Take lessons during the off season. Get involved with other diverse entertainment entities and support other events that you’re not involved in to broaden your horizons. Dress like performers. Make your time like professionals. Develop yourselves as individuals to ensure progress. Do you better then you’ve done you. And together we can make this work for all of us.