Thursday, April 20, 2006

Palm Springs Quarterly Meetings -- The IATSE Hobnobs WIth the AMPTP

Once or twice a year, our Mother International has a "quarterly meeting" with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to "discuss items of mutual interest." What this means is: the Producers try to pry something out of us (the International's unions and guilds), and we push back... The meeting, was held as per usual at the Riviera Hotel, which I think has a nice ambience but has, sadly, grown seedy with age (it closes for good next month). I motored out in the early morning. The union caucus started at 10:30. President Short made it clear that he didn't want the substance of what was discussed there to show up in the trades Friday or Monday, so I won't blog about it here. (Few reading this would care anyway; it was mostly live action stuff. And who cares about that? In the afternoon, the main topics in the Big Room -- our meeting with all the studio reps -- centered around how the health and pension plans were doing, and what the future holds for them. Since we've blogged about this before, I'll recap but briefly: * The Plans are in strong shape. The health plan for Actives now has a 16-month reserve (that means if NO money comes in for the next year and four months, the Plan can still keep going.) The retirees' plan has a 20-month reserve. * There are an estimated 110,00 recpipients of Health Plan benefits (including families of participants, of which there are 40,000.) * There were $347 million in residuals in 2005. 92% of this money went to the health plan; 8% went to the pension plan. * There is $2.3 billion in the Defined Benefit Plan (this is the pension where you get a monthly check). $1.9 billion in the Individual Account Plan (Fun fact: 2500 participants have more than $100,000 in their Individual Account Plans). * Health Plan outlays totalled $400 million in 2005. It's expected to double in eight years. (One More Fun Fact: Average Annual cost per eligible participant: $7,920 - in 2005.) There were brief discussions about how lengthy industry strikes next year (WGA? SAG?) could impact the Plans. Happily, the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans are in better shape than just about any other multi-employer plan to weather a cash flow problem. It was a lovely drive out to the desert and back. I'm glad I've got CDs to listen to.


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