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non union unit photographer taken off job...


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#1 Simon Wakelin

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 07:30 PM

Unfortunate: offered to work stills on-set -- my first independent movie for Sony... finally managed to move on from commercial and promo shoots, at least ZI thought so... was offered a flat fee for the 18 day shoot, then after completing first day I hear from the producer that I can no longer be used because I am non union...

Question is: doesn't the union now have to offer me membership? If so, what do I tell the producer... any advice would be sincerely appreciated in this uncomfortable position...
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 07:34 PM

If a film turns union during production and you are already hired, you can't lose your job for being non-union, but you may be grandfathered in. Talk to the producer and the union rep (Local 600.)
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#3 Simon Wakelin

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 08:54 PM

...apologies for this neophyte question, but what is the 'local 600'? The producer is willing to help...
thanks for the response,
simon
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#4 Tim Tyler

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 09:01 PM

http://www.cameraguild.com/

http://www.iatse-int...ndex_flash.html
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 04:03 AM

Hi,

> what is the 'local 600'

An outfit designed to ensure that all of the best-paid work is distributed among a small group of people from whom it has extorted lots of money.

Snarf, snarf...

Phil
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#6 Bob Hayes

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 09:56 AM

It is not that difficult to get in the camera union. They require 100 days of paid work. 20 years ago union membership was a way to keep control of the money job. Now it is really what you?ve done and who you know.

The union also insures the working conditions and hours are safe and that workers are covered with health care. In countries like Canada and the UK most of the film work is done by Union employees. And health care is not paid by the producers
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#7 Stephen Williams

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 10:37 AM

In countries like Canada and the UK most of the film work is done by Union employees.  And health care is not paid by the producers

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Hi,

I think the Union is fairly dead in the UK now.
Phil?

Stephen
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#8 Simon Wakelin

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 11:42 AM

...not that difficult to get into the union someone says above: I guess so... 100 days on music videos & commercials over 3 years? I can *just about* scramble that together. Proving those days is another matter -- as a photographer for variety/american cinematographer you're not on the call sheet & shoot for magazines not prod companies/studios/labels etc... (plus I don't even know if that counts toward the tally?)

I have to say that the fees are a bit ridiculous. Last time I checked it was around 7,000 dollars to join -- easy if you're a dentist or lawyer to pay, but a humble photographer schmoozing his ass off around town to get freelance work with a baby on the way? Well, I just can't afford it... do they have loans/bursaries/help for serious snappers that want in?

Thanks for your comments thus far,
Simon
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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 12:46 PM

Hi,

The UK union, BECTU, still exists, but it's a pale shadow.

$7000 to join a union can be nothing but extortion.

Phil
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#10 Stephen Williams

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 12:52 PM

Hi,

The UK union, BECTU, still exists, but it's a pale shadow.

Phil

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Hi,

But I think they lost the plot when video postproduction came along!

I am an overseas member, I just have to pay £30 a year instead of 1% of earnings.

Stephen
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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 01:34 PM

There has to be some sort of minimum experience requirement, so 100 days over a three-year period doesn't seem unreasonable -- and it should take some years of work and experience to acquire to weed out beginners.

As for documentation, that's tough if you're a freelancer not paid as an employee using a payroll company, which is why you want to gather any documentation WHILE you are working for the future.

The fee is high, but then, the union salaries are higher so it sort of pays off if you keep working union jobs. Plus there is health coverage and a pension plan you pay into. I certainly didn't start earning a real living at shooting until I joined the union, so it was a good investment. On the other hand, I didn't bother joining until I had worked for a decade and had shot over twenty-three features (not making much money at it, by the way.) So I joined at the time in my career when it made sense to join, when I was starting to be offered union feature work. There was no point before that when I was being offered under 1-mil features that were non-union.

You can pay it off in installments over a two-year period I believe.

You just have to decide how much you want this job. It may not be worth it at this point in your life.
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#12 Stephen Williams

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 02:05 PM

There has to be some sort of minimum experience requirement, so 100 days over a three-year period doesn't seem unreasonable -- and it should take some years of work and experience to acquire to weed out beginners.


<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Hi,

When I first started working in London in 1978 it was a 'closed shop' . I was working as a trainee/loader and for 4 years I could not sign neg reports. There was a real risk the labs would not develop the film! I had to join the animation section as an 'Oxberry Cameraman' as that was the only way in!

Stephen
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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 03:14 AM

Hi,

At least there was a way in...

Phil
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#14 Richard Boddington

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 01:03 AM

"The union also insures the working conditions and hours are safe and that workers are covered with health care. In countries like Canada and the UK most of the film work is done by Union employees. And health care is not paid by the producers"

For guys that work in the USA and are union I have a question about this.

How much health coverage do you get while you are working on a film as a union employee?

If you are diagnosed with cancer while working on the film and you will need long care treatment, what happens then? Are you covered even if you where hired for only 15 weeks?

How do freelance film workers in general manage their health care situation?

R,
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 01:27 AM

A union member "banks" working hours that translate into whether one has worked enough to initially gain access to the health plan. If enough time passes where one hasn't worked, then one can lose access to the plan, although I'm sure there is an exemption for loss of work due to illness.

The health coverage is not tied to the period of the shoot -- that's more like workers compensation insurance, which is different and something the production carries. In other words, if you get injured on the set, then the production pays. I don't think your health plan even gets involved, but if it did, then the insurance claim & production would cover the costs, not the plan.

But overall, you are generally covered by the union health insurance plan continuously, regardless of when you stop and start work. But like I said, you have to have a certain number of hours "banked" to have access to the plan.

Non-union freelancers obviously struggle in the U.S. to get health insurance, the biggest problem with having no national health plan. We have a system that assumes most people will be covered by the corporation they work for, which means a lot of people go around with no health coverage, unless they are poor enough, young enough, or old enough to qualify for Medicare or Medicaid (can't recall the difference right now.) A Great Society entitlement "safety net" program that some Republicans want to strangle, by the way. Bush wants to shift the costs more to the states, knowing that it comes at a time when the states want to cut spending on it because they can't afford it, etc. The end result will be a slow death by neglect and starvation through underfunding, at which point they will claim that it's proof that entitlements don't work, yadda, yadda...

Of course, the flip side to this is that health care costs are seriously over the top in this country for various reasons, so simply spending more money on public health care isn't really going to be a good long-term solution either.

I was covered for years by my wife's plan from being a UCLA employee and then a City of LA employee, etc. There was one year where she went abroad to study so I bought a basic Blue Cross "disaster" plan, i.e. I just wanted low-cost coverage with a high deductible in case I got hospitalized or needed expensive medical care. I think I paid about $100/month for that bare-bones coverage, for one year.
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#16 Patrick Neary

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 10:25 AM

As for documentation, that's tough if you're a freelancer not paid as an employee using a payroll company, which is why you want to gather any documentation WHILE you are working for the future.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


my understanding is that 1099 work doesn't count toward union days (needed to join), that all of the work needs to be as an employee of a company, not as an independent contractor, is this accurate?
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#17 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 10:34 AM

my understanding is that 1099 work doesn't count toward union days (needed to join), that all of the work needs to be as an employee of a company, not as an independent contractor, is this accurate?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


No, I've never heard that. The point is to prove that you worked in that category and got paid, so what difference does it make how you got paid? It's just easier to prove if you've got a payroll company supplying the documentation. As an independent contractor, you just run the risk of them not counting some of the days you list.

Anyway, I don't recall that particular qualifier in the requirements list. The only qualifier I remember is that the work had to be done in the U.S. or its territories.
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#18 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 03:38 PM

my understanding is that 1099 work doesn't count toward union days (needed to join), that all of the work needs to be as an employee of a company, not as an independent contractor, is this accurate?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

No, that's not true. What you end up having to do is get a letter from the producer as well as a copy of the paycheck from the job. It's quite a bit easier to document a payroll job as it's MORE documented than a 1099 job, and therefore contract services seems to accept payroll jobs a bit quicker. A bunch of the days that I used when I joined were a 1099 from a feature. I had call sheets, copies of paychecks, and a letter from the producer to prove that I had done the work. People DO try to lie to get in the union, so having things like callsheets as backup proof of work is very important.
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#19 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 09:48 PM

... For guys that work in the USA and are union I have a question about this. ... How do freelance film workers in general manage their health care situation?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hi Richard: I'm not union & I'm a freelancer in California. I've had Kaiser Permanente individual health insurance for several years. It currently costs $317/month USD for fairly basic coverage.

http://www.kaiserpermanente.org/

I have no idea if it's a good deal or not. I hope I never have to use it. Knock on wood.

All the best,

- Peter DeCrescenzo

Edited by Peter DeCrescenzo, 18 July 2005 - 09:50 PM.

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#20 Richard Boddington

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 11:55 AM

$317.00 a month WOW!

If you have to pay that it's not really worth a Canadian moving down there to save money on taxes. Less tax, but then you have to pay for health insurance, so the money is gone either way.

With your coverage, do you have co-pays as well? If you break your arm are you 100% covered or do also pay some out of pocket? What happens with some thing huge like a brain tumor that will need years of treatment?

Thanks
R,
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