Monday, April 10, 2006
The close blood relative of "unreasonable amounts of o.t." in animation is "uncompensated overtime." I ran across some of it today... I was at a large, high-profile studio that's part of a large entertainment conglomerate. I was going cubicle to cubicle in a production unit that turns out one of America's best-loved animated shows. A supervisor gestured me into his office. I knew from his expression he wanted to talk about something he didn't want broadcast, so I shut the door. "They've cut the schedule for the new season," he said, "and I'm working sixty to eighty hours a week to keep up. The studio told me I'm on salary and won't get any overtime. Can they do that?" I told him he had to be either "on-call" or "hourly" under the Guild contract, and that I assumed he was working "on-call." He said he didn't know, but I explained on-call ato him anyway. "You're far enough over contract minimums that they can put you in that category," I said, "and I'm guessing that they did. It means they can work you extra hours Monday through Friday without paying you extra money. But if you work on Saturday or Sunday, you get time and a half." He squinted his eyes, shook his head. "No overtime." "So they're cheating on the contract," I replied. "Want me to file a grievance?" I got another head shake. "Not really. I don't want to rock the boat." "Okay. Let me know if you change your mind." I departed his office and went on about my rounds. I have this type of encounter more often than I like. Studios have employees falsify time cards, or not report time spent working at home, or remove hours worked from an invoice. I first rubbed up against this phenomena at Warner Bros. A decade and a half ago. I've seen it lots of other places since. Most times, employees refuse to file a grievance because of fears of retribution. But I always offer to file grievances. Once in a while, somebody takes me up on it.
Posted by Steve Hulett at 9:37 PM