Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Details of the new CBA

After lots of pushing back and forth for a couple of days, here's the gist of what we ended up with (I'll focus on the changes to the current CBA, not what stayed the same): The salary minimums will go up $.75 per hour in the first year (or 2.5% for most of the unit rates), and 3% in each of the next two years. For example, right now our top minimum is $1416.56 (production board, and supervisors in certain categories are higher). In Aug. of this year, that minimum will increase to $1446.56, then $1489.96 a year later, then to $1534.65 in the final year of the contract. Employer contributions to the Individual Account Plan will stay at 5% of the weekly minimum rate for the first year, then increase to 5.5% in the second, then to 6% in the third. (Plus the employer will continue to contribute 30.5 cents for every hour worked). I'll blog later about how robust the IAP has become in just the ten years I've been in the industry, but suffice to say the growth of this arm of our pension has been dramatic. Employer contributions to the Defined Benefit Plan will increase by $0.25/hr, to $1.2665 for every hour worked. Employer contributions to the Active Health Plan and to the Retired Employees Fund also get bump-ups ($0.20/hr and $0.05/hr, respectively). The unit rates for writers in the SHORT SUBJECTS (7-15 Minutes) and HALF HOUR SUBJECTS will get wage bumps of 2%, 3%, and 3%, respectively, over the course of the contract. Far more importantly, the pension and health hours contributions increase by a huge 50% for writers in these categories. I'll try to do a table: SHORT SUBJECTS (7-15 Min) Synopsis and Outline H&P hours (current contract/new contract) 23 / 35 Teleplay or Screenplay H&P hours (current contract/new contract) 77 / 115 HALF-HOUR SUBJECTS Synopsis and Outline H&P hours (current contract/new contract) 45 / 68 Teleplay or Screenplay H&P hours (current contract/new contract) 155 / 232 Notice that now the combined outline/screenplay work earns 150 hours for 7-15 minutes, and 300 hours for a half-hour show (up from 100 and 200, respectively). This means a writer can keep their health plan active if they do a half and hour worth of outlines/scripts every six months. The issue of earning adequate H&P hours has become extremely acute for writers in recent years, and we were very pleased that the producers were responsive enough in this category to give both salary bumps and these large increases in hours. In the DreamWorks' sideletter, several job categories were retitled to better reflect actual work, with the wage structure largely unchanged. And that's basically it. We fought off some give-backs and changes that we knew would be unacceptable to many of you, and we had some relatively minor proposals that we had to take off the table to get the rest of the deal done. Steve and I can give more details on those items at the next general membership meeting. In sum, this is a very good contract, and I don't have the slightest reservation in recommending a 'yes' vote. I've written the above from my notes, and I've done my best not to make any mistakes, but the usual caveats apply. You'll be getting the official proposal to vote on, along with more detailed info, in relatively short order.


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