Hollywood’s unions and their pension and health plans have filed court papers to protect their members’ residuals and benefits in the Weinstein Company’s ongoing bankruptcy proceedings. It’s a common move when companies declare bankruptcy so that current and future obligations to the union’s members will be paid.
SAG-AFTRA, the DGA and the WGA East and West – and their respective pension and health plans – filed a joint motion to preserve the money owed to their members and to authorize the continued use of existing cash management systems and bank accounts to pay their members what they’re owed now and will be owed in the future. They were joined by IATSE’s benefit plan, the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans.
In their filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, the guild’s noted that “a substantial portion of the compensation payable to guild-represented employees comes in the form of residuals,” and that their P&H Plans are supported by contributions based on initial compensation and fringe payments calculated in the same fashion as residuals.
“Despite disputes concerning proper and timely residuals payments,” they said in their filing, “the debtors nevertheless have annually paid several million dollars in residuals to guild-represented employees and to the pension and health plans.”
The Weinstein Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 19, and the next day, the court entered an interim order on the cash management of its assets. A hearing on the final order of its cash management will be heard on April 19.
The unions said that the retention of the interim order “is sensible,” but noted that the “retention cannot be construed as a waiver by the union entities with respect to any rights, interests or remedies, all of which are expressly reserved, in connection with any and all funds that should have been paid or should be payable to union entities, toward satisfaction of any and all obligations under union entity collective bargaining agreements.”
In other words, the unions want to make sure that the court protects the money the Weinstein Company owes their members now and in the future. The company’s bankruptcy is the result of the still-evolving sex scandal that destroyed its co-founder, Harvey Weinstein.