TUFF has Senate president Jones’ attention on diversity needs

The United Filmmakers Foundation (TUFF) feels confident that the issue of diversity and fairness in hiring minorities will have a higher profile, now that it has the attention of state Senate president Emil Jones.

Jones, who is demanding that trade unions expand their diversity hiring practices, was unaware that the film/entertainment industry also had trade unions until TUFF brought it to his attention, said TUFF executive director Lun Ye Marsh.

Jones has warned special interest groups not to go to Springfield asking for concessions until they open their doors to African Americans and other minorities.

On behalf of TUFF, Marsh, a makeup artist and Local 476 member, charged that “the film industry is presently an insular, ?good ole boy’ network. Minorities are excluded because we don’t have equal access to information about jobs. Jobs are already taken by people in the know, who then tell or hire their friends. All the jobs are taken by the time TUFF members find out about them.”

TUFF on Nov. 3 sent a proposal on the equitable dissemination of job information to both the DCEO and the IFO and is still awaiting a response. “The IFO budget has the money to hire a diversity officer on an independent contract basis,” Marsh said. “An independent contractor was hired to plan a party out in Hollywood. We feel equity and job opportunities are far more important than that.”

Now with 501C3 non-profit status and 75 active industry members, TUFF will hold a major rally to spotlight the glaring lack of diversity and fairness after the first of the year.