Friday, February 24, 2006

New Member Lunches

Kevin and I have been holding "new member lunches" for the past year. These meal sit-downs are thrown at various restaurants for artists and techies who have recently started work at one of TAG's contract studios. We talk about work rules, the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan, Pension Plan, and the Guild's 401(k) Plan. All kinds of questions get asked, everything from "Are same-sex partners covered?" (answer - "yes, but not 'male-female' partners. Those kinds of partners have to be married to get health bennies.") to "Is my dependent parent or grand-parent covered?" (answer: "No.") We had a lunch for new DreamWorks employees yesterday, and the discussion was lively. Lots of good questions about the Industry Pension Plan and how to vest pension, how to get retiree health benefits. (Answers: work five qualified years for the first, work fifteen qualified years and twenty thousand hours for the second.) Near the end, Kevin reminisced about the batches of fresh-baked cookies and boxes of Dove bars that were a daily occurence at DW when it occupied the Lakeside Building at Universal Studios. Ah, the good old days of 1997.


Kevin Koch said...

Yeah, those cookies were great, but I really miss the pancake and scrambled egg breakfasts, and the drawers full of Heath bars. Mmmmmm.

Just to clarify on the pension vesting, you should all remember that we have two automatic pension plans. The Defined Benefit Plan (the 'old school' monthly retirement pension) takes 5 years to vest. The Individual Account Plan takes but a year to vest.

And what counts as a qualified year for vesting purposes? A mere 400 work hours in a single calandar year. So you could get a union job from, say, Sept. of last year through March of this year, and you'd have two qualified years.

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