Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Disney/TSL Contract Moves Toward Ratification Vote

The TSL (Disney Feature) Collective Bargaining Agreement that was negotiated five weeks ago has been turned into a "Memorandum of Agreement" and mailed to Disney employees. A ratification vote will happen next week inside the hat building...

The new contract follows the outlines of the Local 839 agreement and was unanimously recommended by the Disney employee negotiating committee; among the major bullet points:

* Minimum wage rates increase $.75/hr in year one, followed by percentage bumps of 3% and 3%.

Employer Pension contributions increased by $.25 per hour, retroactive to August 1, 2006; a pension increase of 10% (trust fund balances permitting) in 2009, retroactive back to August 1, 2006.

A sick leave increase from five days per year to 10 days.

Employer Health Care Benefit contributions increased by $.25/hr.

In this day and age, the above is a good package, and remarkably good when you understand how flinty the studios and their conglomerate owners have become in recent years. It wasn't long ago that I heard Nicholas Counter, the chief negotiator for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, say: "We've told the unions and guilds they'll get a better deal if they negotiate early and reach agreement with us. If they strike, they'll get a worse deal afterwards."

Now, I don't know if Mr. Counter is blowing smoke or not, but I know that GE, Time-Warner and the others have way deeper pockets than SAG, the DGA, WGA and IATSE, and never hesitate to remind labor they have no problem waiting out a job action, if it comes down to that. I guess we'll see who wants to test Nick Counter's statement in the next few years.


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