AIP037 | The Split-Earnings Problem: SAG-AFTRA’s Elephant in the Room

In this long-form episode, host Ben Hauck dives into the ongoing problem of “split earnings” that continues to plague many SAG-AFTRA actors interested in qualifying for a union pension.

Ben explains how the merger of SAG’s and AFTRA’s health plans did not solve the split-earnings problem, putting members in the awkward situation of turning down union work and large paychecks in the pursuit of a pension credit.

Ben also outlines how SAG-AFTRA repeatedly ignores and fails to provide public comment on the resolution of the split-earnings problem — a hot-button topic that helped SAG and AFTRA to achieve a merger more than six years ago.

With extensive documentation, Ben shows how it would seem that the union as well as one of its pension plans is quite plausibly against reporting on the pension plans and their health, essentially shutting out members from important information about the status of their pensions. Actors are left trying to interpret signals from the union and its pension plans about what they might be doing — or might not be doing — to resolve split earnings.

Ben concludes with what he wants with respect to the split-earninngs problem, and what he hopes listeners will consider when it comes time to vote on contracts and union elections.

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☞ Links

Ben references a number of documents and links.

Websites for the Pension and Health Plans
Press Releases
  • The Taft-Hartley Act (aka the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947) – See Section 302(c)(5)(B) for information on deadlocks among boards of pension plans
  • ERISA (aka The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) – Includes laws governing pension plans and their mergers
  • Pension Protection Act of 2006 – Outlines pension classifications for different levels of funding
  • 26 U.S. Code § 432 (Additional funding rules for multiemployer plans in endangered status or critical status) – Details the special rule in the Internal Revenue Code for pension plan classification that the SAG Pension Plan seized for Plan Year 2017, thereby technically avoiding “endangered” status and the need to notify participants of that status
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