Sunday, May 31, 2009

Where Is Hulett?

I've been in northern California, talking to IM Digital employees about the biz, the pension plan, and the health coverage they get under the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan ....

The informational lunch that was held Friday at a fine Novato eatery had a big, lively group with lots of questions. Topics that came up during and after the meeting were how c.g. artists got screwed working on effects in Montreal on Journey to the Center of the Earth (weeks of work without pay), and how much c.g. work remains unorganized.

Addressing the problems in Montreal, I said what I've said before: If you, the employee, don't get paid, you don't show up for work. Simple.

And often scary, because management will put the screws in and tighten them, using the argument: "What's the matter? Aren't you a team player?" "We're a family here!" "You'll get a big bonus if you just stick it out!"

(Added scariness: I found out that for workers in Montreal there was an extra whammy: If they quit the job that wasn't paying them, they couldn't collect unemployment. Truly amazing.)

Regarding the non-signator parts of the industry, the solution is the same that it's always been. People have to organize their workplace. (Not always easy, particularly in times like these, but the only answer I can think of. Corporations seldom behave like benevolent institutions. That's not what they're designed to be.)

I'm off on vacation the next four days, so be good to one another.


Peter C. Koczera said...

Strength in numbers, its the unity in unions.

Daniel Alekow said...

And things like what happened in Montréal scare people like me, who hope to get into this industry one day.
Sometimes it feels a bit intimidating. But I guess no job is perfect... Certainly hope this will get solved though.

I can imagine that it is not very easy to just not go to work, when there is such pressure on you. Even if that's probably the right thing to do...but I sure wouldn't want to be in that situation.

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