Latest Labor News


Disney, Sony & DreamWorks Animation Antitrust Class Action Tossed

DreamWorks Animation Sony Disney Lawsuit

More than six months after the first lawsuit was filed over anti-poaching and wage-fixing allegations, the ‘toon studios have seen the now-consolidated class-action case go the way of hand drawing as genre standard, at least for now. "As Plaintiffs have failed to allege an essential element of fraudulent concealment, and the Court has also concluded that Plaintiffs' claims, as currently alleged, are time barred, the Court grants Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiffs'… Read


No Roadblocks Seen As IATSE Contract Talks Start Monday


Negotiations will begin Monday for a new contract covering some 38,000 Hollywood-based members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. A strike is considered highly unlikely, as the union has never launched an industry-wide strike and there don't appear to be any pressing strike issues. As long as the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers doesn't ask for any major rollbacks and the union doesn't try to make any major gains beyond the… Read


‘Midnight Rider’ Producer Film Allman Contests Safety Citation In Court – Update

Sarah Jones Randall Miller

UPDATE, 9:44 AM: Film Allman LLC lawyers continued this morning in federal court in Savannah, GA arguing against the OSHA citations and $74,900 in fines. This has really become a mini-trial about whether Midnight Rider filmmakers intentionally put their crew in jeopardy on February 20, 2014 when they criminally trespassed on a Doctortown train trestle to place a metal hospital bed perpendicular on the tracks and shot a scene. That action resulted in the death of… Read


‘Longmire’ Producers Implement Safety Measure Following Accident


EXCLUSIVE: Netflix and Warner Horizon Television has undertaken new measures on the set of their wildly popular crime drama series Longmire to help ensure the safety of their production crew by providing charter buses to take the crew to and from remote shooting locations. The decision is welcome news to crew members. The move follows the death last year of 48-year-old Longmire crew member Gary Joe Tuck. He fell asleep at the wheel and rolled his car on a New Mexico… Read


Want Full California Tax Credit? Bill Says Keep The Music Scoring Local

California Film & TV Credit Passes

A bill introduced in the California Assembly seeks to change the state's pending $330 million film incentives program by requiring that more of a film project's music scoring be performed in California to qualify for the full amount of the rebates being offered. Assembly Bill 1199 is being applauded by Musicians Local 47, but it remains to be seen if it has the backing of the MPAA or by state and local politicians, who might see it as a disincentive to film here. An MPAA… Read


Nickelodeon Hires SVP To Boost Preschool Division Following Layoffs


Nickelodeon has appointed Jennifer Dodge to the newly created position of SVP West Coast Development and Production for Nickelodeon Preschool. The move comes almost two weeks after the kids cable network began layoffs as part of broader reductions at parent Viacom. Among those pink-slipped were Emmy winner Teri Weiss, Nickelodeon's EVP Preschool Programming, and Kay Wilson Stallings, SVP Production & Development atNickelodeon Preschool, Nick Jr. and NickMom. This… Read


Paramount Whistleblower: Emails Reveal Studio Officials Tried To “Freak Her Out”


EXCLUSIVE: The Paramount Pictures whistleblower who accused the studio's longtime labor relations chief of embezzling union funds claims that the studio engaged in a "cover-up" and then terminated her in retaliation for reporting him. The studio denies it, but internal Paramount emails reveal that shortly after she blew the whistle, Paramount officials devised a plan to "try to freak her out," apparently in the hope that she'd accept a severance package and leave the… Read


Jane Street Producers Vote To Join WGA East After Company Brass Urged Against It

WGA East Logo Grid

Freelance producers and associate producers at Jane Street Entertainment have voted overwhelmingly to join the WGA East. Despite pleas from the company's owners to reject union representation, the freelancers voted 46-3 to join the guild, and the National Labor Relations Board now has certified the guild as their collective bargaining representative.  Guild officials say they now hope to sit down and negotiate a contract with the New York-based company, which produces… Read


Feds Probing Former Paramount Exec Over Embezzlement Allegations


The U.S. Department of Labor is investigating allegations that former Paramount labor relations executive Stephen Koppekin embezzled money from three of the union pension and health plans that he served on as a management trustee. Two years ago, Paramount announced that Koppekin had retired after many years as the studio's SVP Labor Relations. On Thursday, however, the studio acknowledged that he'd been fired for the allegedly embezzlement. "As soon as this was brought to… Read


‘Midnight Rider’ Case Moves To Federal Court As OSHA Hearing Scheduled

Midnight Rider CSX evidence

EXCLUSIVE: A hearing will be held in federal court next week regarding the Midnight Rider train trestle accident that killed 27-year old camera assistant Sarah Jones to determine whether or not the film company behind the Gregg Allman biopic will have to pay fines levied against them by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. That hearing will take place in Savannah next Tuesday, March 31 and could last through April 2. At issue is whether the defendants… Read


Ed Asner Tells Union Actors: Just Say No To Equity’s Minimum-Wage Plan

Ed Asner

EXCLUSIVE: Former SAG President Ed Asner is urging stage actors to vote no on Actors’ Equity's proposal to scrap L.A.’s 99-seat theater waiver. Balloting on the plan begins today, with an Equity Council vote slated for April 21. The proposed change would require small theater companies to pay actors minimum wage for performances, a move that opponents say would result in the shuttering of many theater in the city that provide a crucial environment for young thespians… Read


Camera Operator After ‘Midnight Rider': “Speak Loudly And Lead By Example”


Dave Chameides, an Emmy-winning A Camera/Steadicam operator, has been working in the film industry for the past 25 years and a member of Local 600 for the past 20. In the wake of the Sarah Jones tragedy we've heard about the Director, the Producer, the UPM (unit production manager) and the 1st AD (assistant director). We've learned of their duplicity and the fact that the above the line "adults" had complete knowledge of the danger they placed their crew in. But in every… Read