(International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees)
District 8 Convention
  John S. Knight Convention Center 
Akron, Ohio
July 16th, 2002
Guest Speaker - Kate Mulgrew
Thank you to I.A.T.S.E. Local 48 for photos & audio.
Please do not repost or link to photos or text without permission.
Let's give her a rousing round of applause – Kate Mulgrew!

Kate Mulgrew:  Thank you.  Hello gentlemen.  How are you?  Nice to be here.  A pleasure to meet you.

Thank you very much.  How nice to be here.  I married a man who promised me a simple life, which is of course why he is running for governor of Ohio.  Don't ask!  Men!  Ladies, you know what I mean by that.  He is a remarkable man, however, and I believe that he will make an extraordinary governor.  He believes very, very much in the working men and women of Ohio because he is one of them, and he is one of you.

My husband is one of fourteen children - this was not discussed until after I had agreed to marry him – nine of whom are members of unions.  His grandparents came respectively from Italy and Ireland.  They worked as ironworkers, steelworkers - in this country.  My husband himself has been a member of the Ironworker's Union, Steelworker's Union, Baker's Union – didn't tell me about that until a little bit later on either.  He is a fierce proponent of organized labor, as am I.  I have been instructed to tell you – from his mouth to mine – that no piece of major legislation has ever been passed in this state, let alone this country without the categorical support of organized labor. He is a champion of the working class, he is a champion of organized labor and he will see to it that this union is well cared for and kept in robust good health when he becomes the Governor of Ohio.
However that's not really why I came, so let me just cut right to the chase.  You're my union.  This is my favorite union.  It is the union I know the best, I need the most and that I have the greatest respect for.  I have been a working actress for almost thirty years – no we will not discuss the original date of that… I am a member of the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio, Actor's Equity Association.  I've been acting since I was eighteen years old, and I am here to tell you that I simply could not have had my life – which has been wonderful – without you.  And I am delighted to see ladies – more and more ladies – on the field.  In this meeting of delegates, and in the country, throughout – working as stage hands, grips, gaffers, electricians, wardrobe mistresses, makeup artists.  You are a splendid group.  And I think that what sets you apart is that you are truly the group for which this adage is famous – and the adage is "I paid my dues."
You know we're famous as actors for saying "I should have this part, I paid my dues."  It's you guys who have paid your dues.  It is the unseen, the unbidden, the unrecognized.  I get to walk out on the stage and I am lauded at the end of that performance, when no one has a clue that it has taken exactly thirty-five of you to construct for me in that two hour period, a moment of fabulous entertainment.  You are the invisible wizards.  You are the magicians. But I have noticed since I have been quite young, and I say this because my best friends are grips, gaffers, wardrobe mistresses, cinematographers, electricians.  This is a union of unparalleled solidarity.  I know you have your arguments – in house and out house.  I know sometimes you don't like one another and sometimes you certainly don't like the actors that you have to serve, or the bosses that you have to serve.  But there is a complete unanimity of excellence in this union.  I remember it clearly from falling into the Hudson River and being saved by a grip, which wasn't his job.  From erecting a scaffolding for me – Shakespeare in the Park – thirty feet high – and the guy was so nervous that I would fall, that in a hundred degrees of heat went up to secure it and fell himself.
Hartford Stage this past February I made my debut as Katharine Hepburn and on opening night – God is an interesting creature, if God exists, isn't he?  I have to turn at the very beginning of Act 2 and go up to the mantelpiece (in Hepburn's voice) – she's now very old – she's seventy six – and I turn and it's the moment where I turn and reveal myself – the mantelpiece crashed to the floor.  All the photographs on it, all the bulwarks above it – the entire thing crashed.  I got to my dressing room, and at my door was the stagehand responsible for stabilizing the mantelpiece and securing it.  He said "I am unquestionably going to commit suicide before six o'clock in the morning, but before I do, I would just like to apologize with everything that I have."  From that day forward, for three months, that man got to that theater four hours before that curtain went up.  He hung from that mantelpiece for ten minutes to make sure.
My personal relationship with this union is vast and it's deep and it's strong.  I have the utmost admiration.  I love many of you in California.  Many in New York.  Many in Connecticut.  And now as I move to Cleveland and go into the Cleveland Play House I will get to know the stagehands there.
I learned something else in my tenure as Captain Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager. This union is broadening, isn't it –with the advance of technology, special effects, computers?  I learned in my eighteen hour days.  And I also learned that this particular union – special effects I think is now involved, is it not sir - are more responsible for what is happening to science fiction entertainment in Hollywood and in the United States than any other group of people… I think somebody should answer that call… what is it with cell phones?  An extraordinary thing.  I just got one, I think I'm going to smash it!  Really – they're hateful and they're always going off when you're in the theater, aren't they?  Blah blah blah…(Kate does an imitation of someone speaking on a cell phone!).
So to get back to my tenure on Voyager – I had seven and a half long years there.  I would love to tell you stories about the actors and the actresses.  I would love to tell you about all the famous people I met, but I think I'm just going to cut to the point and tell you what I truly remember.
I remember arriving at that studio at four a.m. and having my first cup of coffee with the head gaffer, Randy Burgess.  And standing on the soundstage and going over a few things, and sitting there and having one cup of coffee.  I remember being walked home at two o'clock the next morning by an electrician who was on his way out – made sure I got to my car. I remember that every time I had to be set on fire – and there were eight million times I had to do it – there was a wonderful person from the fire department and special effects there to tell me how to put myself out.  And when I didn't manage that myself they rolled me in blankets. I have been taken better care of – I think I have been respected more – and certainly I've had more laughter and more communion with the people in this union, than I have with the people in my own – which is a rather extraordinary thing to say after thirty years of being a professional actress.
And so it is my absolute pledge to you – I think I may speak for my husband – indeed I will.  As the Governor of Ohio, he will see to it that this union remains safe, secure, robust.   That this union is enhanced by gathering new workers.  That this union continues to grow.  I will see to it because … if he wishes to remain married – and happily married – this is exactly what will happen!
I want to just tell you that this is a tough race – we're racing against the incumbent Bob Taft, who is not a working man.  A very nice man, I understand, but he doesn't understand as much about labor as my husband does.  We need your vote, we need your support in any way that you can possibly help us - we would be eternally grateful.  There's a little thing here that the campaign has devised which I would just like to read to you.  It's called the "Ten for Tim Challenge".  Contributing $10 to the campaign would be indispensable if you could.  Recruiting ten volunteers to work until election day.  This includes making sure they receive information about the campaign and most importantly making sure they vote on election day.  Making sure that at least one of their ten people is a senior citizen and that that person is taken to the polls on election day. The "get your grandma to the polls" campaign. But mostly he needs you and he needs your ongoing support.  This will be a two-way relationship – I can promise you that.  And I thank you – Kate Mulgrew – from the bottom of my heart, for the best thirty years of my life, and I hope we all have thirty more.

Thank you very much.