Tim Sarnoff firstname.lastname@example.org
The votes have been counted. 401 people voted.
The results are:
Imageworks will remain non-union. More to follow in tomorrow’s monthlies.
And that is how it ended 9 years ago.
This is an effort to inform all the new hires about the past, and not to open old wounds. Since there is no history book, we’re left with what the veteran artists say as a document for what happened.
(and what a comment it is on our business that 9 years at the same place is seen as being an old timer.)
Check out these posts from Steve Hullett, the TAG Business Representative, from 2009 about the Union’s side of what happened (the comments are informative as well):
A veteran of the vote has submitted the following story to us:
“I don’t remember if the formation of SPA triggered the vote or not, but it all seemed to happen at about the same time. In the era of Spidey2, and Polar Express I think.
Most communication was done via an email alias we would use to discuss things with each other, and it would sometimes turn into petty arguments. A lot of people didn’t want to deal with it, and just kind of tuned out and wanted the whole thing to go away.
A lot of pressure came from long-time senior artists to keep the union out, and that pressure would trickle down to the new production hires. I never heard anyone say “don’t vote union or else”, but there was a mood in the air that that was what you were supposed to do to fit in and keep everyone happy. You know, the old “don’t rock the boat” story.
The feeling was that that TAG was very stand-offish, and had a take it or leave it sort of an attitude. If we joined, great. If we didn’t then whatever, it was our loss.
There was also the overwhelming opinion that the benefits we enjoyed would always be there, because why wouldn’t they? I don’t think anyone could have fathomed at the time how the company would slash our benefits to the bone, and leave us in worse conditions had we voted for the union in the first place. Practically the only thing we have left are expensive PPO insurance options, some sick days, and a small matching 401k.
I remember Tim saying at monthlies after the vote that one of the lingering issues was the difference in benefits between staff and production hires. We forget production/show hires had
NO(ed: HMO only) benefits before the union vote happened. Tim delivered on his promise and gave some benefits to production hires. My understanding is that new production hires get HMO only, no sick days, no vacation days, no 401k.
If we had voted for the union back then we would be vested with a pension paying us a monthly benefit when we retire until we die. Now we are 9 years behind qualifying for lifetime health benefits at retirement”
What’s different now:
The SPI management shakeup of 2009 has given us an all new administration, and removed many old timers.
TAG is taking an active roll in helping us out, and being there to answer any and all questions.
We have Twitter / Facebook/ and the SpiUnion site to communicate with each other. We can join the discussion via our phones at any time. There was rampant mis-information at the time. A site like this with TAG answering our questions is a far healthier discussion.
The company, industry, and the world are very different places than they were in 2003. How many employees from 2003 have been layed off and shown the door since then? What happened to all the great benefits that kept staff employees from considering unionization? Lots of things have changed, but the union is still there. The SPA contract is still there and the Health and Pension plans they participate in are still there too.
The law (National Labor Relations Act Section 9(3)) says that a year has to pass before another representation election can be held at the same facility. That year has long passed. Why let a bad decision from almost 9 years ago affect us for the rest of our careers?
Edit 4/22/2011 :
One of the nice things about this site is all the people mailing us in info. It’s been brought to our attention that prod hires at the time did receive HMO benefits. We’ve verified it with several people, and have amended the above statement.