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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Ben references a number of documents and links.
Websites for the Pension and Health Plans
- An Important Message about the SAG and AFTRA Health Plans (June 8, 2016) – SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris announces the merger of the SAG and AFTRA health plans and “once and for all, end the problem of split earnings”
- Myth Busters Top 40 – A SAG publication that aims at addressing “myths” about the merger of SAG and AFTRA and “facts” to correct those “myths”
- Feasibility Review – A publication including comments from seven attorneys about the feasibility of merging the SAG and AFTRA benefit plans (also known as “the Feasibility Report”)
- 2014 TV/Theatrical Contracts Referendum Booklet – A SAG-AFTRA publication forecasting the merger of the SAG and AFTRA health plans
- 2017 TV/Theatrical Contracts Referendum Booklet – A SAG-AFTRA publication spelling out the conditional wage increases and pension contributions SAG-AFTRA negotiated with producers
- SAG-AFTRA’s Voter’s Guide and Voting Instructions for the 2015 National Officers Election – Including Jane Austin’s 2015 position statement
- SAG-AFTRA’s Voter’s Guide and Voting Instructions for the 2017 National Officers Election – Including Jane Austin’s 2017 position statement
- SAG-AFTRA Theatrical Wage Table (Updated as of 1/4/2018) – Shows that a 2.5% increase in 2018 wages is set for members working under the SAG-AFTRA Theatrical Agreement
- SAG-AFTRA Television Wage Table (Updated as of 1/4/2018) – Shows that a 2.5% increase in 2018 wages is set for members working under the SAG-AFTRA Television Agreement
- Letter from SAG Pension Manager Sandra T. Cantu to SAG Pension Trustee Stacy K. Marcus (April 20, 2017) – Found on the website for the Joint Policy Committee, this letter details the “endangered” status the SAG Pension Plan for Plan Year 2017 were it not for a special rule
- Letter from SAG Pension CFO Odéle Kohlstrand to American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (September 26, 2017) – Found on the website for the AICPA, this letter details the SAG Pension Plans opinion that public disclosing of some kinds of audit findings is problematic for the administration of the pension plan
- Former SAG Pension & Health Plans Exec Nader Karimi Gets Probation In Tax Fraud Case (April 14, 2016) – Article from Deadline.com about the downfall of the SAG Pension & Health Plan Chief Information Officer who allegedly took “kickback” from service providers to the plan
- Benefits – Adam Arkin, Jason George, D. W. Moffett, Tony Shalhoub, and Mimi Cozzens talk about the split-earnings problem and how the merger of SAG and AFTRA will address it
- AFTRA President Roberta Reardon on the SAG-AFTRA Merger
- Sam Jaeger from Parenthood and Seamus Dever from Castle are Voting Yes for SAG-AFTRA
- 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
- The Politics of Glamour: Ideology and Democracy in the Screen Actors Guild – A compelling history book up to 1988 documenting unions in the entertainment industry, notably the Screen Actors Guild
- The Five Biggest Mergers in History
- “The Blind Men and the Elephant” (1872) – A poem by John Godfrey Saxe (1816–1887)
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