Wednesday, November 14, 2007

An Overtime Tale With a Happy Ending

Just now there's so much gloomy news floating in the ether, I'm pleased to report on something good.

A few days back, when I was visiting one of TAG's fine, signator studios, an artist came up to me all smiles. "Your suggestion worked," he said. "I got the extra money I was owed."

Here's the back story. I had been talking to this artist off and on for a couple of weeks. He was upset because he'd been working lots of overtime, and the studio was not happy that he had -- on one particular day -- worked so many hours that he had gone into "golden time" (that's double the regular hourly rate.)

The studio, he'd told me, hated to pay double time.

He said they were putting pressure on him to shift a few of the hours around so that the gold showed up as silver -- time and a half. It was suggested that this would make the studio happy..

But the artist didn't want to make the studio happy, he wanted to be paid his money. So when he brought the subject up, I suggested that he go to his supervisor in wide-eyed innocence and say: "I'm a little confused about this, please help me out. You want me to move my hours around and falsify my time card, right?"

Because he was ticked, he agreed to try this approach. And the other day as he was reporting on its success, he added:

"... As soon as I asked them if what they wanted was for me to fake up my time card, they said 'Oh no, no! Put down the hours just the way you worked them!' So I did."

Last note: The artist is still working at his desk. Nobody has (yet) snarled at him that he's "hurting the show," nobody is giving him the stink eye in the hall. I'm not saying those things might not happen, but he stood up for Truth, Justice and What-Used-To-Be-the -American-Way and lived to tell the tale.

And there's your happy story for the day. With its happy ending.


Pete Emslie said...

I love to read stuff like this. I feel that more artists should stand up for their rights instead of meekly working extra hours for less than they're due, or worse, for no extra pay whatsoever, as is generally the case up here in the Toronto animation industry. Ironically, I also believe that if they did speak out on these matters, artists would garner more respect in the longterm from their supervisors, who would be less likely to exploit them again.

Thanks for this anecdote, Steve, and congratulations on your re-election at TAG!

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