Question of the Day – Initiation Fees

May 24, 2012

We asked Steve Kaplan:

So what’s the deal with initiation fees? They are waived for new members present when a vote takes place, right?

If someone is employed at a later date, do they have to pay the fee?

Isn’t it true most companies will pay the fee if asked for as a signing bonus?

Can you pay in a payment plan? If so, over how many months?;

What are the dollar costs to people?;

Would the severance pay from a union contract basically balance out this cost?

Thanks

Steve says:

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Question of the Day – Why aren’t rep cards online?

April 9, 2012

We asked Steve Kaplan :

Is it acceptable to digitally sign the rep card pdf and email it to you?
Or do they need to be printed and snail mailed?

Here is what he responded:

According to NLRB regulations, we have to have physical and signed copies of the cards to present if we are to use them as proof of interest among the group.

It’s something we’ve been petitioning them to change.

 

-- 

Steve Kaplan
Labor Organizer
The Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE
(818) 845-7500

AIM: Kapanmtr
Google IM: kaplanvfx
ICQ: 83945576
Skype: steve.kaplan.tag839

 


Question of the Day – Leads and Supes

April 6, 2012

We asked Steve Kaplan:

How is union membership handled for leads and supervisors? Traditionally these positions are exempt from overtime, are they eligible for union membership?

Answer:

The only “management” positions that wouldn’t be eligible would be those with hiring and firing abilities. In a typical vfx shop setting, that’s few to none of the leads and supes.

 

-- 

Steve Kaplan
Labor Organizer
The Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE
(818) 845-7500

AIM: Kapanmtr
Google IM: kaplanvfx
ICQ: 83945576
Skype: steve.kaplan.tag839

Question of the Day – Tax deductible fees?

April 5, 2012

We asked Steve Kaplan:

We know quarterly dues are tax deductible, but are initiation fees?

Answer:

All monies payable to the union are tax deductible.  Initiation fees and dues are both tax deductible.

 

-- 

Steve Kaplan
Labor Organizer
The Animation Guild, Local 839 IATSE
(818) 845-7500

AIM: Kapanmtr
Google IM: kaplanvfx
ICQ: 83945576
Skype: steve.kaplan.tag839

Imageworks Vancouver, Unions, and portability

April 2, 2012

We asked Steve Kaplan about organizing in Vancouver:

There is some kind of labor union in the Vancouver area isn’t there?
How does that affect the Imageworks people in Vancouver?

There is. IATSE Local 891. The contact is Dusty Kelly.

http://vfx.iatse.com/

Office: (604) 664-8921
email: dustyk@iatse.com

Artists in Vancouver interested in organizing should contact Dusty. There will have to be two contracts between Sony and the IA. One for the US and one for Canada. Local 891 will handle Canadian organization and contract negotiations.

What is the difference? Mostly national laws. There are distinct differences between Canadian and United States labor laws, health care concerns, pension contribution abilities and the like. Thus the need for two specific contracts. In both cases, the artists will still benefit from collective bargaining and the establishment of workplace conditions and standards they have a voice in creating.

Best,

Steve K

So we asked Dusty, and here is our conversation:

If Sony Imageworks Vancouver were to unionize, does that mean artists’ pensions and bank of hours would transfer over from the US?
What about Canadian union workers going back to the US?

Hi there, the answer to your question depends on a number of variables. In order to receive portable benefits through a union contract the facility that the artist is working at must be unionized, and an agreement to flow benefits in place. If the Los Angeles facility is unionized and the sister Vancouver one is not there would be no portability unless:

 

1)       the US artist or the Union on behalf of the artist has negotiated to work under the US union agreement while working at the sister facility in Canada

 

Each province of Canada retains jurisdiction over labour relations (except transportation, communications, marine, etc) unlike the US which has a national labor relations board. That means any facility in Vancouver (would have a British Columbia corporate identity to be eligible for tax credits) must be organized under British Columbia’s Labour Relations Code. The unionization of a sister facility in Los Angeles has no bearing on the facility in Vancouver from a legal stand point.

 

Another possibility is Sony would voluntary recognize the IATSE as the bargaining representative for the workers at the BC subsidiary, this in my opinion is a long shot. But if that occurred then benefits could be portable.

 

To summarize, “free flow” requires facilities be unionized under like union banner, coordinating to achieve this is crucial.  I am ready to be of assistance in this matter.

What can we do to make the coordination happen?

You need to find persons on the inside in the Vancouver facility who are on board and get them to contact me.

 

If LA were to agree to a union contract, but BC didn’t , is it too late at that point?

It is not too late if LA organized first, however successful concurrent campaigns would provide better leverage in negotiations.

 

If/when Imageworks Vancouver decided to unionize, what do they need to do to insure portability?
Would we need a clause in our CBA to allow for it?

Successful negotiations would include benefit contributions. These contributions are administered through separate trust plans with agreements for sister unions to provide portability or reciprocity, as do all the motion picture and commercial contracts in the US and Canada.

So all you YVR people, get in contact with Dusty!