WGA Leaders Seek Hikes in Pension Plan Contributions From Studios – Variety

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Leaders of the Writers Guild of America are in search of vital hikes from studios in pension plan contributions at negotiations that launched this week.

“Now, we have to safe further funding from our employers in order to place our pension plan on robust sufficient monetary footing to climate this market downturn and protect pension advantages for future retirees,” the WGA negotiating committee stated in a message despatched to members Thursday.

Representatives for the Alliance of Movement Image and Tv Producers and the WGA are dealing with a June 30 expiration of the present movie and TV contract. Talks are being performed remotely as a result of coronavirus pandemic after two begin dates have been vacated.

The WGA famous that the 2017 contract negotiations — which had included a strike authorization vote — addressed the difficulty of a large potential deficit in its well being plan. It was despatched to members a day after the guild detailed its objectives for elevated script charges.

Learn the total memo under:

“In 2017, after years of healthcare prices outpacing inflation, we wanted extra money for our well being plan. On the time, our plan was projected to run a deficit of $70 million by 2019. We used our collective energy, together with taking a strike authorization vote, to safe a rise in the employer contribution price from 9.5% to 11.5% over the lifetime of the 2017 MBA. Right now our well being plan is on stable floor; we ran surpluses over the past three years, and elevated the variety of months our well being plan has in reserve.

Now, we have to safe further funding from our employers in order to place our pension plan on robust sufficient monetary footing to climate this market downturn and protect pension advantages for future retirees. Presently, our employers contribute 8.5% of our compensation to the plan, which totals nearly $150 million yearly. Whereas our pension plan is designed to pay out advantages over many a long time, federal laws mandates a short-term give attention to funding returns that may threaten our advantages. In 2006, Congress handed the Pension Safety Act (PPA), which added new necessities for pension plans like ours that would require us to make adjustments rapidly in response to a short-term decline in funding returns. Because of this legislation, and lingering results of the 2008 market crash, a extreme sufficient market downturn may power us to make future profit cuts.

A rise in the employer contribution price is just not sufficient. We have to considerably improve the caps on contributions for screenwriters and writers of long-form TV. Members of groups ought to get full contributions for his or her work as people, not on diminished quantities just because they’re employed as a group. We additionally want to extend the kind of compensation and residuals topic to learn contributions. Most TV residuals generate contributions to the pension plan and well being funds, but it surely’s not the identical for streaming residuals. As streaming reuse is changing TV reruns, streaming residuals have to generate contributions to our profit funds. We have to change that now earlier than streaming residuals substitute different residuals, finally placing further monetary strain on each the pension and well being funds.

Our pension plan is a vital supply of long-term monetary safety for middle-class writers, and a profit that writers who got here earlier than us fought onerous to realize. Even if you happen to’re early in your profession and never desirous about retirement, at some point it should come, and we wish to make sure your WGA pension might be there for you.”

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