Recent quotes from longtime TAG folks. (You hang out here much, you'll find them vaguely familiar) ....
"I worked at Klasky-Csupo years ago, and the overtime, unpaid, was brutal. I finally couldn't take it anymore and left. The union studio I'm at now doesn't like to pay o.t. either. The intimidation is intense. They've got ridiculous schedules and get on you if you don't hit them. Lots of people just stay as long as they have to. Nobody kibitzes, nobody takes breaks, there's no time ..."
This is a constant in the time I've been here. Some productions have "doable" production schedules and some not, but short schedules usually create pressure to "get it done on time" with the proviso: "We don't have any money in the budget for overtime!" (Like this is the artists' problem?)
TAG stands ready to file grievances over unpaid overtime. Many studios have coded cards to enter studio premises, so employers know exactly when employees are in the studio and when not.
Less Work Around Town
"I'm picking up less freelance and longer term in-studio gigs seem few and far between ..."
Television production work -- which is what the member above talks about -- has picked up a bit from levels of a year or two ago, but it's down from the levels seen in the 1990s and early 2000s when licensing fees were higher and syndicated animation blocks were a significant part of the television landscape. Now it's mostly cable ... cable .... cable.
This graph shows overall employment from 2007 through to this January:
This pie graph shows the distribution of employment as of today [numbers of people working are in square brackets] ...
The same chart for September 2009:
...And for August 2008:
The Motion Picture Industry Health Insurance
"Last summer I was getting more things paid for when I went to the doctor. Prescription drugs are now more expensive. An older co-worker who's retired isn't getting the same retiree health benefits he used to ..."
The reason these things have happened since August 1, 2009? The Plan re-design kicked in on that date, and Motion Picture Health coverage is now less generous.
For example, formerly fully-paid visits to the Motion Picture Television Fund clinics are now $5 a pop. Hospital stays that used to be 100% covered in the Blue Shield network are now 90% covered with a maximum out of pocket of $1000 (before August 1 it was $800.) Many medical costs that Medicare doesn't cover for retirees are no long being picked up by the Motion Picture Retiree Health Plan. (And retirees aren't happy about this.)
The Plan re-design was necessary because the Plan's health costs have risen 9.5% a year. Though cash in-flows have been going up, they haven't gone up enough to cover higher expenses.
But here's at least a partial remedy if you need to keep costs down:
Motion Picture Television Fund Health Center Locations
Bob Hope Health Center -- 335 N. La Brea Ave., L.A. 90036 -- (323) 634-3850.
Glendale Health Center -- 800 S. Central Ave. #305 -- Glendale, CA 91204 -- (818) 876-4790
Jack H. Skirball Health Center -- 23388 Mulholland Drive, Woodland Hills, CA 91364 -- (818) 876-1050
North Valley Health Center -- 11550 Indian Hills Road #200, Mission Hill, CA 91345 -- (818) 876-4770
Santa Clarita Health Center -- 25751 McBean Parkway #210, Valencia, CA 91355 -- (661) 284-3100
Toluca Lake Health Center -- 4323 Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91501 -- (818) 556-2700
Westside Health Center -- 1950 Sawtelle Blvd. #130, Los Angeles, CA 90025 -- 310 996-9355