I'm often asked how much will an employer pay in benefit costs in the event it becomes signatory to an IATSE contract. I'm also asked whether, and how much, will the employee have to pay? Finally, I'm asked into what Local will the artist become a member?
Sorry. I don't know!!!
I don't know how the budget negotiations between the Obama administration and the Tea Party/Republicans will turn out, either. Or how Carmageddon will affect my upcoming weekend plans?
Here's what I do know:
The Major Studios pay $5 per hour on every single hour worked, not just 40 hours per week, but every single hour worked, both straight time and overtime. Plus 6% of gross wages goes into the Individual Account Plan, towards a pension. And, currently, the Health Fund is operating at a deficit. "Residuals" from dvd sales have dropped in the past few years and as a result, the plan is currently operating at a loss. We have to fix that. And I can't predict where that will shake out. I do know that other IATSE plans have substantially lower contribution rates. Which one will end up in a contract covering Visual Effects Workers?? We don't know. But, we can say for sure that it's not our unilateral decision. It's up to you, and you, and you.
We also have an open mind about Local Union membership. Visual Effects Supervisors might be best served becoming members in the Cinematographers Guild. Previz clearly have a community of interest with production designers, art directors, and storyboard artists. Compositors use tools and skills similar to those in the Animation Guild. One way to go is to have all visual effects artists in one organization. But, you might not want to do that. What do you think??
Many Studio Locals have an "industry experience roster". It gives experienced workers (who coincidentally happen to be members of a particular Local), priority in being hired by a signatory company. Frankly, a controversial and much litigated arrangement. What do you think about that???
I don't have all the answers. But I do represent a democratic organization which allows you a voice in determining how these issues are decided. I'm proud of that.
So, thanks for the questions. If we are selected to represent you, we'll let you decide the answers.