Thursday, April 13, 2006

Dismissal pay for Toy Story 3 folks

Today Steve and I had another new-member lunch, this time with a group of Disney recent hires, all from Circle 7. When Toy Story 3 was canned, most were given two-month's notice, during which time they hope to find permanent positions at the company. Talking to them reminded me that the dismissal pay provisions of our contract differs for most people at Disney . . . For anyone under the "TSL" contract at Disney (which is pretty much everyone recently hired at Feature or Circle Seven), the dismissal pay provisions differ from the standard TAG local 839 collective bargaining agreement (which might still apply for people who have been at Disney long-term, or at DTS or DTV). So the first thing is to know what contract you're under. Any new union member at Circle 7 will almost certainly be under the TSL contract. The dismissal provisions for TSL are as follows: once you've been laid off for 90 days and you had been with the company for at least three months, you're entitled to 1 1/4 days pay. If you'd been there at least six months and less than a year, you get a weeks pay. After working a year or more, you're entitled to two weeks pay. You're entitled to the dismissal pay even if you get a job at another studio during that 90 days (union or non-union). The key with the TSL contract is that you must request your dismissal pay in writing when the 90 days is up. If during that 90 days Disney offers you a new contract, and you decline it, then no dismissal pay. Same if you're fired "for cause." But simply having your contract run out is the same as a lay off or dismissal, and in that case you're entitled to the pay. Further, for the TSL contract, you're entitled to your full pay (i.e., what you negotiated in your personal service agreement), not union minimum. The reason I'm emphasizing this is because in the TAG 839 contract (and in the Sony Pictures Animation* contract), the dismissal pay provisions are different. In the regular 839 contract, dismissal pay is now automatic (i.e., you should not have to request it), but the waiting period is 110 days, and the rate is capped at 150% of scale (so someone who had been paid at, say, 200% of scale for a year with their company wouldn't receive a full two weeks of their regular salary, but two weeks of 150% of scale). Dismissal pay is one of the few ways the TSL and 839 contracts differ. In either case, I always encourage people to mark a calendar when they leave a union studio, and follow up at the appropriate time. I have heard of cases at TAG studios where dismissal pay wasn't paid automatically as it should have been, and the studio had to be prodded to pay their obligation. Call the office if this may have happened to you. *At SPA, it's called severance pay (probably a more accurate term), and one isn't entitled to it until two years of work. On the other hand, the amount of severance pay keeps going up until one is entitled to five weeks pay after 10 years.


Steve Hulett said...

One small wrinkle: If you're a Disney animation employee working at Disney Feature or Disney Toons -- where the DVD features are done -- you'll most likely be under the TSL contract.

If you work at Disney TV Animation, you'll most likely be under the 839 agreement.

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