Sunday, May 17, 2015

Negotiations, Past and Future

The Sherman Oaks Galleria, also the former home of the May Co.; former home of Warner Bros. Animation. Current residence of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, where TAG contract talks will take place the tail end of June.

Come summertime, the Animation Guild will sit down with the major animation studios and negotiate a new three-year contract. The guild’s negotiation committee will meet in early June to go over proposals, but it’s important to know what the IA (our mother international) negotiated for other West Coast production locals last month. ...

In a nutshell:

Wage minimums will increase 3% in each year of the Agreement. The increases shall compound.

MPI Pension Plan:

For those who retired prior to August 1, 2009, they shall receive a 13th and 14th check on or about November 1 in each year of the Agreement, provided there are 8 months of reserves in both the Active and Retiree Health Plan and the Pension Plan is certified to be in the Green Zone.

In each year of the Agreement, the hourly contribution into the Pension Plan shall increase by an additional $.18 per hour.

The Defined Benefit Pension Plan benefit accrual formula will increase by 10% for Active Participants effective 1/1/17, retroactive to 8/1/2015.

MPI Health Plan:

Prescription drug co-payments will not increase

There will be no increased costs to the primary participants nor to their dependents for health care coverage.

There will be no cuts to health care benefits.

Current members with at least one qualifying year into the MPI shall continue to be eligible for retiree health coverage after 15 qualifying years in the MPI. For new members who do not have a qualifying year into the MPIPHP as of 1/1/16, such new employees will need 20 qualifying years in the MPI to qualify for retiree health coverage. ...

The New Media Sideletter under the Basic Agreement saw major improvements, and TAG will be looking to make ours more “member friendly” as well.

The thing of it is, contract negotiations are often elongated rituals. They're also like watching weird Kabuki theater while sitting on low-voltage electric spikes. The union has its proposals, the producers have their proposals. Management let's you know, via various signals, that any push to better terms and conditions in the contract are counter-productive and never going to fly.

Steve Kaplan and I were present at the IA Basic negotiations. There was a lot of performance art and haggling over smaller contract points during the first four days, then a 20-plus hour bargaining session on the final day. The finish line was reached with a satisfactory conclusion, but getting there was a wee bit like the Bataan death march.

I have been informed that we won't have to go until the wee small hours this time around. I guess we'll see.


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