Often faced with a question of why associations are important, I struggled to find a coherent answer. Today I can honestly say there are so many reasons. First and foremost, the association is the front line of defense for the job security of all reporters. Often, we want to believe ourselves to be untouchable or so desirable that we’ll always be employed. That said, too often you have administrators that, in the name of fiscal responsibility, seek to cut reporters from the budget. They do not understand the potential consequences of cutting a profession that has protected the record for the last 50 years from the public sector. They don’t anticipate the records that’ll go missing or the issues that may occur.
But then I realize, many reporters cannot see what would occur!
Freelancers: If 100 or 200 officials were cut and added to your pool, the supply of reporters would increase and demand would be about the same. Your value would logically decrease. It is in your own self-interest to make moves to safeguard officialships. More people in officialships means fewer reporters in freelance. Lower supply, same demand, higher value.
Officials: If the move is ever made to cut officials, it’s going to impact family budgets a lot more than the hundred something a year it costs to support a NYSCRA membership.
And, indeed, the association has tried before to get important laws passed, and come quite close, so it makes sense that with a little more support, it would win. See how close we got with the Workers Comp Bill or Mechanical Recording Bill. They’ve also defended our (all reporters’) ability to be paid by passing General Business Law 399-cc.
Now that we’ve had a little talk on defensive strategy (risk management), let’s talk about how a strong association can go on the offensive. A strong association can and does fight for the CART providers and freelancers. If you, like me, can imagine an association strong enough to campaign for the mandate of the use of stenographic reporters in deposition proceedings, then you should log right into NYSCRA.org and sign up, because that’s really the end game in my eyes. Opening up doors so that this job continues to provide for us and our families for the next 50 years, and so that we’re never left wondering what to do if the job becomes less profitable. Association board members make no money off your membership fees. But that money is required to push for laws that’ll keep the profession strong and vibrant in New York. Join NYSCRA and get a voice in what’s fought for, as well as be a part of what’s won.