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Why You Should Think Twice Before Attending the Cleveland Film Festival This Year
by Cleveland Jobs with Justice Thursday, Feb. 24, 2005 at 6:53 PM

Cleveland Cinemas CEO Jon Forman is up to no good once again. After 28 years of working the Cleveland Film Festival, the union projectionists have been told that this year their services will not be needed. One man's fight against the union is threatening to destroy the integrity of the Cleveland Film Festival, prompting many in Cleveland to say "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!"

For 28 years members of the Projectionists' Union here in Cleveland have proudly worked the Cleveland Film Festival - showing the films and providing festival-goers with a quality experience to rival any big-name festival out there.

But this year, Cleveland Cinemas CEO and Cedar Lee Theater owner Jon Forman has decided the union has no place working the Cleveland Film Festival. After 28 years of proud participation in one of Cleveland's premier cultural events, what appears to be one man's personal vendetta has left a foul odor hanging over this year's festivities.

Forman has been involved in a labor dispute with the union for over a year now - purging his theaters of union workers and giving their positions to "managers." The union fought back last holiday season with a boycott campaign of the popular Cedar Lee Theater - asking folks to not support a unionbuster like Jon Forman, who was named Cleveland's 2004 "Scrooge of the Year" by Cleveland Jobs with Justice. The National Labor Relations Board has also been drawn into the fight, as the union continues to pursue unfair labor practice charges against Forman.

Not satisfied with violating workers' rights in his own facilities, Jon Forman used his clout in the Cleveland arts community to keep the union out of this year's festival as well. "Forman made it known that in order for the festival to use his facilities at Tower City, there would be no union labor used," says IATSE Local 160 business agent John Galinac. Rather than siding with the union - which in past years has helped raise generous amounts of money for the festival, including a $10,000 donation from actor Paul Newman - the festival organizers have decided to cast their lot with a man who has done everything in his power to destroy organized labor in his industry.

Cleveland should be so proud.

It seems that being named "Most Impoverished City in the Nation" has driven some in Cleveland to go out of their way to prove how worthy the city is of this title. As the high-paying manufacturing jobs of days past continue to disappear, employers like Jon Forman are also doing their part to wipe out the good jobs that remain - jobs like those held by the union projectionists in his theaters, which paid well and provided good benefits and pensions. But some Clevelanders are tiring of this race to the bottom.

The county commissioners, for one, have withdrawn their financial support of this year's festival. After giving $15,000 last year to support the festival and it's use of union labor, the commissioners are less than happy about this recent turn of events. For a festival that is already in financial straits, this kind of snubbing really hurts.

The union is attempting to provide an alternate location for filmmakers that would agree to pull their films from the festival at Tower City. "We want Cleveland to see these films, but we want to offer both the filmmakers and the filmgoers a socially responsible opportunity to enjoy them. We think many of this year's participants and attendees will have quite a problem with being in any way connected to a unionbuster like Jon Forman," says Galinac. The union is currently reaching out to the filmmakers to encourage them to withdraw their work from this year's festival.

Cleveland Jobs with Justice will be helping the union organize specific actions throughout the festival, to draw attention to the labor dispute and encourage socially conscious festival attendees to spend their money elsewhere.

Anyone interested in receiving more information about the campaign should contact Cleveland Jobs with Justice at 440-333-7007.

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Lets just fire everybody High Def shooter Monday, May. 22, 2006 at 6:41 AM
Lets just fire everybody High Def shooter Monday, May. 22, 2006 at 6:41 AM
Lets just fire everybody High Def shooter Monday, May. 22, 2006 at 6:39 AM
Lets just fire everybody High Def shooter Monday, May. 22, 2006 at 6:39 AM
Lets just fire everybody High Def shooter Monday, May. 22, 2006 at 6:39 AM
Lets just fire everybody High Def shooter Monday, May. 22, 2006 at 6:39 AM
Lets just fire everybody High Def shooter Monday, May. 22, 2006 at 6:39 AM
Lets just fire everybody High Def shooter Monday, May. 22, 2006 at 6:39 AM
Lets just fire everybody High Def shooter Monday, May. 22, 2006 at 6:38 AM
Lets just fire everybody High Def shooter Monday, May. 22, 2006 at 6:38 AM
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