Wednesday, March 29, 2006

At the General Membership Meeting

Despite the rain, a healthy quorum of Animation Guild members showed up at the General Membership meeting last night to hear about changed elements of the health and pension plan (some better, some...ahm...different), and to learn about the Guild's new contract and building... Re the contract: Copies of the Memorandum of Agreement and ballots should be in their mailboxes by the middle of next week. New provisions include:
  • increases in employer health plan contributions, the pension plans, and the retired employees fund;
  • increases in wage minimums in each of the next three years ($.75/hr; 3%, 3% -- which mirrors the IA Basic Agreement);
  • a 50% increase in benefit contributions for freelance writers.
The Negotiation Committee, which unanimously recommended the contract deal, has touted it as the best new contract we've had in at least the last twenty years. Ratification ballots will be due back by April 24, to be counted the next day. Important note: The American Arbitration Association does the ballot mailing, counting, and certifcation for the Guild's contracts and officer elections. The ballots will arrive in an envelope with their return address, and must be returned to their PO box and not to the Guild. All active members will be mailed balllots, but only those who are "in good standing" (that is, paid up through the 2nd quarter) will have their ballots counted. Re the new building: The membership overwhelmingingly approved the acquisition of a new building, located at 1150 N. Hollywood Way, closer to the studios, in Burbank. Kevin has discussed the new building in previous blog posts (here, here and here), and in the March Peg-Board. Re the state of our benefits: Tom Zimmerman, the director of the Motion Picture Industry Health and Pension Plans, spent the first hour discussing the state of our health insurance and pension, which remain the best in the entertainment industry. (Kevin has previously posted about the "defined benefit" pension, the Individual Account Plan and the 401(k) Plan, and there will be more in future blogposts and in the April Peg-Board.) (Interesting sidelight: Local 44 -- where the guild's membership meetings have been held the last several years -- was holding an emergency Executive Board meeting downstairs and 44's parking lot was jammed. Apparently they have brought their executive director up on internal charges and they've been pretty busy around there lately.)


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