SAG Pension & Health Plan Whistleblower Craig Simmons Wasn’t First To Ring Alarms
EXCLUSIVE: Fully two years before whistleblower Craig Simmons alerted the U.S. Department of Labor to alleged malfeasance at the $3 billion SAG Pension & Health Plans, fellow employee Gary Mathis made virtually identical allegations to the federal agency, Deadline has learned.
Mathis and Simmons both filed claims and wrongful-termination suits, with decidedly different outcomes. Mathis' claims were rejected by an arbitrator, but Simmons' claims went public, with coverage… Read
‘Midnight Rider’ Director & Producers Reach Settlement In Wrongful Death Suit
The lawyer for the family of Sarah Jones said today that it has reached an agreement with Midnight Rider director Randall Miller, his wife and producer Jody Savin, and several crewmembers in the wrongful death civil lawsuit filed after their daughter was killed during production in February on a train trestle in rural Georgia.
Attorney Jeff Harris said the confidential agreement had been reached with Miller, Savin, their Unclaimed Freight production company, location… Read
SAG-AFTRA Relaunches Set-Safety Hotline
SAG-AFTRA has a new safety hotline number to report unsafe working conditions: (844) SAFER SET, or (844) 723-3773. The new number — the extra letter in “safer set” is to make it easier to remember — is being printed on the back of all membership cards, which are being mailed out. The guild, which maintains that "safety remains our No. 1 priority," has long had a safety hotline, but the new number is deemed easier to remember. The guild encourages members to call the… Read
Embezzlement Allegations Over SAG Pension & Health Plans End Quietly
Allegations of widespread embezzlement at the SAG Pension & Health Plans that ruined the career of the benefit plans' longtime chief administrator Bruce Dow quietly have been settled. "That case is over," said Robin Dal Soglio, the attorney who represented Dow and the plans in a confidential arbitration of the matter. The case that started with a bang has ended with a thud.
The allegations made headlines when Craig Simmons, the plans' executive director of human… Read
Blame Canada’s Tax Incentives For Dual-Identity Helmers
A few years ago, a veteran U.S. TV director was having trouble finding a gig. So much production was ending up in Canada that Americans were competing for fewer and fewer jobs. "Work started tapering off in the U.S.," the director said. "I went on two interviews [for work in Canada], and when they found out I wasn't Canadian, they said, 'Sorry.' I remember standing out on the corner and thinking, This won't happen again — I've got to feed my family. So I got an… Read
SAG-AFTRA Strikes Tentative Deal On Network Television Code
SAG-AFTRA and the major networks have reached an agreement on a new Network Television Code, covering nonprimetime TV shows. The current pact expires Saturday. The deal now goes to the union's board of directors and, if approved there, on to the union's members for ratification. The contract is a successor agreement to pre-merger AFTRA Network Code, which had been AFTRA's biggest contract, generating more than $250 million a year in member earnings. It covers syndicated… Read
IATSE Sound Local 695 Trusteeship Could End In January
EXCLUSIVE: IATSE Sound Local 695, which was placed into trusteeship in February by IATSE International president Matt Loeb, could be coming out of trusteeship as early as January. Ballots have been sent to the local's 1,040 members asking them to ratify a new constitution and bylaws. If approved, elections will be held for new officers and the trusteeship lifted.
The local was placed into indefinite trusteeship after its longtime business agent, Jim Osburn, ran afoul of… Read
‘Midnight Rider': Wrongful Death Defendant Claims Video “Manipulated” On ’20/20′
UPDATED WITH ABC NEWS STATEMENT: Two weeks after shocking footage from the train that killed Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones was revealed on the Oct. 31 episode of ABC's 20/20, railroad company CSX is hitting back against the Jones family lawyers. In a motion filed this week in the ongoing wrongful death case against CSX and over a dozen other defendants (read it here), CSX accused Jones' lawyers of slipping the train footage to ABC News and asked a Georgia… Read
Aereo Layoffs Hit As Boston Office Is Shuttered
In a move that should come as no surprise, struggling Aereo today started laying off staff and shutting doors. “In an effort to reduce costs, we made the difficult decision to lay off some of our staff in Boston and New York," the company said in a statement. While based in NYC, Aereo's largest office actually was in Boston. "We are continuing to conserve resources while we chart our path forward,” the company said. “We are grateful to our employees for their loyalty… Read
UK Parliament Minister Prods ITV Over WGA Impasse
A prominent member of the British Parliament has called on UK media giant ITV to make a deal with the WGA East. The union has been trying to get a contract with the company for the past four years covering writers and producers employed by ITV Studios America's reality TV shows. That roster now includes the new Neil Patrick Harris-toplined variety show for NBC, which WGA East this week threatened to strike if it didn't use guild writers.
"The WGAE is a respected union… Read
Neil Patrick Harris: “My Variety Show Will Absolutely” Use Union Writers
UPDATED, 8:25 PM: Neil Patrick Harris took to Twitter tonight to assuage the WGA East's fears that his upcoming NBC variety might employ nonunion writers:
Know this: my variety show will absolutely be crafted by union writers. I've been assured by ITV that it will be a WGA show. Period.
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) November 5, 2014
No reaction yet from the WGAE or series producer ITV Studios America.
PREVIOUSLY, 2:51 PM: After he hosts the Oscars in February… Read
Don’t Expect A Nail-Biter As SAG-AFTRA Opens Non-Primetime Talks
Negotiations for a new SAG-AFTRA network TV contract covering non-primetime shows got underway today at the offices of management's Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in Sherman Oaks. It's the first time the union will negotiate the contract since the merger of SAG and AFTRA in 2012. The pact, was previously had been negotiated separately by AFTRA only, covers syndicated programs, soap operas, news broadcasts and reality, quiz, and game shows. The current… Read