An Open Letter to Genndy Tartakovsky

Dear Genndy,

We had fun at the Hawaiian Luau the other night, thank you for taking the time to sign our posters.

You’ve had a long and successful career working in animation.  For a good chunk of those years you’ve worked under a union contract. By now you are hopefully getting close to crossing the 15 year vesting period, and you will be enjoying health benefits for the rest of your life after age 65. If you hang in there for 20 years, you can retire at 62. Although we hope you’ll keep making films instead of just retiring someday.
We would like to talk about some very serious issues in the animation industry today. Perhaps you are unaware of the working situations for artists at Sony Pictures Digital Productions.

There is a 3-tiered benefit system that your crew works under:

Sony Pictures Animation – union under TAG 839: portable health and pension benefits, sick days, vacation days. Benefit portability between studios.

Sony Pictures Imageworks  – 6+ months employment: 401k, sick days, PPO insurance, vacation time. No benefit portability.

Sony Pictures Imageworks – less than 6 month deals (based on offer length, not actual time worked on the show, or time at the facility): HMO, no benefits otherwise. No benefit portability

Now that some of your departments are winding down, many people are finding themselves in a precarious situation regarding their health insurance for themselves and their families. The “Fabulous Fridays” are anything but . People are forced to look for work, while saddled with outrageously high cobra costs, or forced to drop health insurance altogether. The ebb and flow of crewing is not the issue, the portability of benefits is.

We work to make your ideas come to life. When audiences buy blu rays and dvds of Hotel Transylvania next year, 5% of that money will go into the Motion Picture Television Fund to provide for pension and health benefits for retirees. 38 people in SPA will receive health and pension benefits courtesy of the work of 250+ other crew members.

We all work towards a common goal, but most will receive an unfair portion of the reward.

We try to educate , but our voice is limited. Your voice has far more reach in the animation community. As a former animator , will you stand with us to improve the working conditions of your crew?

Do you support all your crew members receiving the same benefits that SPA and yourself have enjoyed?

Thank You,
The Artists of SpiUnion

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4 Responses to An Open Letter to Genndy Tartakovsky

  1. ZombieHaNDS says:

    It was a great experience to work in his film. I look forward to his answer. :)

  2. Dave Rand says:

    Well stated. Thanks for providing the link to the Motion Picture Television Fund. I’ve received several emails myself asking if that is still in place for the VFX effort as it’s not immediately apparent, if at all, on the new IA website for the this important effort. It certainly should be as it’s a major source of funding of the health and retirement plans and the reason they are so affordable. This is especially relevant given the fact that the VFX work seems to be driving most of the profits that feed that residual payment. Perhaps that point could be added in a spot on the IA’s VFX site so it jumps right out at you. I’ve suggested they hire a marketing company, seems important information like this is not reaching such an important audience. I’m certainly grateful you have taking the time to provide it for now. What’s the IA’s VFX URL again? Could you post that please.

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