Monday, September 28, 2009

Seventy Cents on the Dollar

I believe we can now stick a pin in this sad, miserable story:

Two years after having worked unpaid for three months at a Montreal film studio, a group of special-effects artists is preparing to recoup 70 per cent of what they claim is owed them.

The 130 mainly Canadian artists have been seeking $1.2 million in wages and overtime pay from the two U.S. companies that had formed Meteor Studios Inc. in 2000.

Last week, they accepted the third and latest joint-compensation offer from Discovery Trademark Holding Co. Inc. and Evergreen Digital LLC for nearly three-quarters of the amount.

"I'm amazed we're getting anything," said Dave Rand, the lead effects artist on the Journey to the Centre of the Earth movie ...

He was able to persuade his fellow artists to reject the first two offers - for 45 per cent and 63 per cent - made by Discovery and Evergreen through the provincial Commission des normes du travail.

Although he and some others, mostly fellow American artists, were pushing for full compensation, Rand said many of their Canadian counterparts expressed the need for the money now ...

This is where the plutocrats always get you. They've got the money, and nine times out of ten they can wait you out.

My hat is off to Mr. Rand, because he's one in ten thousand: a guy who isn't willing to roll over and take it up the large intestine.

My rule of thumb has always been, if I can get a settlement of 70-75%, it's an okay deal. Dave is made of sterner stuff than I am.

On the other hand, when the checks stopped coming, I would have been out on the sidewalk with a bullhorn, screaming at people to turn off their computers and get the hell out of the building.

(I mean, what can the employer do? Stop paying you?)


bARE-eYED sUN said...

its a never-ending story;
the need for a counter-balance to
unrestrained profit-motive (i.e. greed).

one more reason to form unions.

thank you for sharing. :-)


Anonymous said...

What was the legal pretense for not paying the whole 100% that the artists had been hired for?

rufus said...

Talk about a cautionary tale.
Thanks for keeping an eye on this story.

You'd be surprised at the reasoning some people give for staying at work while their paychecks are "late". A few months late.

I really don't understand why they just don't walk out after two weeks. Or even one, except most places pay every two weeks.


Anonymous said...

As I understand it, the "Legal pretense" was simple: either the artists accepted the 70% that was offered, or they try to get 100% in court.

In a lawsuit, they might have lost and gotten nothing. Or (more likely) they spend legal fees and wait for years before they "win," but the delay and expense aren't worth the extra 30%.

Steve Hulett said...

Adding, if the company is bankrupt, the employees are in line with other creditors, and a court win might only garner them X amount of dollars in any event.

Anonymous said...

SO basically , the two US companies can create a front called Meteor, allow it to go bankrupt and thereby not be obligated to pay its workers.

Steve Hulett said...

You have learned well, grasshopper.

Go and start your own b.s. front company.

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