Friday, February 15, 2013

Employee Push Back

The down-trodden strike back:

A fired Rhythm & Hues employee is suing the bankrupt visual-effects company for unpaid wages and benefits on behalf of the more than 250 people in California who were laid off this week.

The suit was filed in California bankruptcy court by Anthony Barcelo, who worked as a compositing technical director at the company's El Segundo, Calif. office. ...

"The employees were given no notice that this was coming, which would have allowed them to make a soft landing," said René S. Roupinian, an attorney for the plaintiff. "Mr. Barcelo asked for and received notices at several points that his job was secure, so he feels particularly betrayed. He is in dire financial straits, and he has a family to support." ...

On a related note, I spent most of the afternoon at DreamWorks Animation, going from one "See ya, bye" meeting to another. (A lot of employees were having their "exit interviews" today, and several asked me to be in attendance.)

After that I went through the DWA Lakeside building talking to people who had been pink-slipped about how long health benefits will last (for most, 12 to 14 months), who's vested in the Motion Picture Industry Pension, what companies are out there hiring, small but helpful things like that. I was stopped in Lakeside building halls a lot.

I'd describe the mood at DWA as one of glum resignation. But departing employees are getting X number of weeks of additional wages as they go out the door. The amount varies depending on A) the show they were working on and B) the term in their personal contracts.

That's at least a small sliver of light during a dark time in the industry.


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