Over the past several days there have been complaints from some laid-off Disney feature employees who are a little chapped. Their story goes like this:
They worked on the animated feature known as Frozen (and many of them on earlier features), and now they're at liberty. (The company's choice, not theirs.)
So they've now discovered that everyone who's labored on the picture, and is still a Disney employee, gets a nice fat bonus check. But they get nada because they no longer work for the company.
For some reason I've received a few e-mails and phone calls about it. ...
And I, good union rep that I am, have (in turn) called the company on their behalf. And said this:
I understand these bonuses Diz Co. is handing out to Frozen staffers are discretionary, and totally within the corporation's purview. But look at the situation from these separated employees' perspectives. They worked alongside everybody else, worked their tails off the get the picture done, worked to the best of their abilities, and then the company laid them off.
I get how someone who resigned and went somewhere else, maybe left in the middle of the picture, deserves nothing. They walked out, so the hell with them. But these people wanted to stay. And they worked hard. And the company used their work. And Frozen ended up making a billion-plus dollars.
I understand that the Walt Disney Company is under no obligation to pay a separated employee more of anything (or a non-separated employee, for that matter), but the crew-members were doing pretty much the same job on the same movie, and now months later, some get a big extra check and some don't rate so much as an all-day sucker.
You okay with that? ...
The answer (paraphrased) was, "The company's policy is to pay bonuses to current division employees, whether they worked on a given picture or not, and that's what the company does."
Our world, Disney style.