Friday, December 05, 2014

Wage Coordination

But not necessarily in a good way:

... The latest amended suit filed by attorneys from the law firm Cohen Milstein adds Blue Sky Animation — maker of the hit films Rio and Ice Age — to a list of defendants which includes Dreamworks Animation, Disney, Image Works, Sony Animation and several other studios. Blue Sky, based in Greenwich, Connecticut, is a subsidiary of Murdoch’s 20th Century Fox.

Blue Sky reportedly contacted Pixar to discuss “our sensitive issue of employee retention,” after which Pixar’s head of Human Resources contacted her counterpart at Blue Sky, Linda Zazza, “to assure her that we are not making calls to their people or trying to poach them in any way.”

It’s remarkable that, five years after the DOJ began its investigation into wage fixing in the technology industry, we’re only now learning about how deep the cartel reached across the Hollywood animation studios. ...

We continue to get calls about from animation employees studios that (allegedly) suppress wages. Where appropriate, we refer them to lawyers in various large cities.

And I've been asked by members if I think that studios coordinate with each other, if they manipulate the salaries they pay. I always respond "Yeah, sure. I don't think it happened very much in the 1990s, but it happens a lot now."

Can I prove this? Can I hold up a smoking gun? Before the depositions of some animation executives were made available to the general public, the answer was "No." Today, of course, the answer is different. Now the answer isn't "Does this kind of stuff go on?" but "How widespread is this stuff?"

Month by month, we get clearer answers.


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