Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Wage Theft: What Can You Do?

Many thanks to all those who have contacted me to discuss their experiences with Yurcor and other EOR companies. Through the documents that have been shared with us, as well as the correspondences with representatives of these companies, we're progressing with our plans to seek enforcement of the law and the return of wages to the affected artists. A special debt of gratitude needs to be paid to Justin Cone who exposed our efforts to the readers of his website Motionographer and brought us exposure we never would have been able to do on our own. While I am eager to update you on what has transpired so far, I can only say that we have significant progress and things are looking good.  I will continue to update our progress when I can.

I wanted to specifically address the frequent questions that have been raised about what artists can do if they wanted to act on their own to recover the wages that they lost to Yurcor. While its our intention of instigating a class action lawsuit which would cover the United States, some artists are eager to start the recovery process faster than we can initiate the claim. For them, I want to post some information that would be useful.

I've been in contact with the Labor Departments of California and New York. (I will contact the DOL of Washington tomorrow and post those results in comments.) Through those conversations, I was told what steps artists should take if they decide they are interested in pursuing action against Yurcor.

Before you proceed in any legal venture of this nature, you must have proper documentation of the transgression at your disposal. This would be copies of  Payroll Reports from the EOR that detail the employer tax withholdings for the entire claim you want to file. Meaning, if you worked for a studio for six months under Yurcor, and want to recover the wages withheld to pay the employer taxes, you will need records showing all six months worth of withholdings.


To file a claim with the EDD, follow the steps outlined under To Report Payroll Tax Fraud at https://askedd.edd.ca.gov/frmFraudStart.htm.

For the purposes of these reports, you should answer the questions on the Fraud Reporting Form as described:

To which EDD program does your report relate? with Payroll Tax Fraud

Does this report involve fraud by an EMPLOYER, EMPLOYEE, or BOTH? with Employer

In the subsequent form, list how Yurcor is withholding your earnings to pay the Employer Taxes for loaning you out to the visual effects studio. For name of person owning the business, list "Unknown" and leave the Full-Time and Part-Time employees.

New York

To file a claim with the Labor Standards Department of the New York Department of Labor, first have the LS 223 form completed.  The form is pretty self explanatory, however be sure to fill out the last few questions accordingly:

25. List the TOTAL amount of Employer Tax withholdings that were withheld from you by the EOR.  This is for the entire time you worked for them.  It is important that you have the documentation to back up this claim.

26. Mark the [Yes] box

27. Its best to list "See Documentation" and be prepared to show invoices for the period listed in the claim.

29. Mark the [Yes] box and write in the following column that the EOR withheld these monies to pay the employer-responsible payroll taxes.

With the form completed, call one of the three following numbers:




According to the representative I spoke with, they make three numbers available in case one is busy.  All three are answered by the same office.  This will begin your claim and the Labor Standards Department will begin action against the EOR to recover your wages.

Under most state laws, employers are responsible to pay Unemployment Insurance, State Disability, State Income and Employment Training taxes for their employees. California's EDD explains this in their Employer's Guide (page 6). While Yurcor is most likely paying that on behalf of the artists they loan out to companies, doing so with artist wages is the illegal part.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or continued documentation.  We will continue our progress towards putting an end to this illegal and egregious practice that is so prevalent in the visual effects industry.


Anonymous said...

Awesome! Hats off, Steve. Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely brilliant. Our union at work! Thank you Steve.

Andreas Jablonka said...

good job as usual my friend!

Anonymous said...

'we're progressing with our plans to seek enforcement of the law and the return of wages to the EFFECTED artists.'
Sp. It's affected. Affect: to influence. Affected: influenced. Unless it Visual Effected Artists try to be organized by TAG. Then its HOPELESS.

Steve Hulett said...

TAG isn't directly organizing visual effects artists. That is being done by the IATSE.

Steven Kaplan said...

Spelling corrected, snarky Anon. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Anonymous said...

This is excellent news, and highlights the continuing importance of unions.

While anti-union conservatives like to claim that "the labor laws on the books" negate the need for unions, the fact is that if those laws are not enforced, with the financial resources that unions can provide, it is the same as those laws not existing at all.

Anonymous said...

Thank a union member for paying for your legal defense, guys.

Anonymous said...

I am a freelance cg artist. I just got my 1st check from Yurcor who they use for payment today. I was losing my mind over how much they took out of my check. I am not standing for this and I will do whatever is nescessary to get my money back. Great to see you guys are doing the same. I wish I knew about this BS before I agreed to work at this studio.

Eric Rosenthal said...

Any update on the Legal action against Yurcor?? I just booked a job with a company that uses them, and it looks like I may be forced to go with them. I hate those parasites like Yurcor and MBO....

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