UPDATE: Other agencies say they either didn’t cut salaries or reinstated cut salaries earlier.
EARLIER: Good news and bad news today at UTA. Agency chief Jeremy Zimmer sent an internal email to employees notifying them that UTA is the first major agency to reinstate full pay for employees. Everyone there took paycheck haircuts on March 23 when it was clear the pandemic that brought the revenue flow for the agency to a screeching halt wasn’t going to abate.
At the same time, the agency has also let go 50 people, some of whom had already been furloughed earlier. The furloughed workers won’t be brought back immediately, but the 50 person layoff is a downsizing move as the agency remakes itself for the future. The layoffs are spread across the company.
I’m told that Zimmer and agency heads Jay Sures and David Kramer will continue to not take salaries through year’s end.
Full salaries will be reinstated by Mid-September. In the memo, Zimmer describes the intention to give significant pay increases to hourly employees, and extend half day “Summer Fridays” to stretch weeks into the fall. Zimmer also said that UTA has provided “generous” severance and will cover COBRA payments for a period, though he wasn’t saying for how long and there was no further comment from the agency.
Here is the memo sent internally by Zimmer:
From: Jeremy Zimmer
Sent: Wednesday, September 2, 2020
To: All UTA
I have some very positive updates to share for most of our colleagues, as well as some additional news unfolding today that is more difficult.
First, the good news. Our industry is showing increasing signs of recovery and stability. Parts of our business have remained steady despite the impact of COVID-19 and, in some areas, we’ve performed stronger than expected. We’ve been able to manage through this period as well as we could have hoped—in great part because of the shared sacrifice you have made these past six months through the pay reductions. We know this has been a difficult time and I’m pleased to share that time is over.
Effective two weeks from now, on September 16, we will fully reinstate salaries for all of our colleagues. In addition, we are continuing to follow through on our commitment of meaningful increases in base pay for our assistants and hourly-compensated colleagues, building further on the increases we instituted several weeks ago. We will be sharing more details on that over the next 24 hours. While our overtime restrictions remain in effect, we will continue to review those policies too. And knowing how hard everyone continues to work under these unusual circumstances, we’ve decided to continue summer half-day Fridays through September 25.
Even with these positive developments, we have some sobering news. Our business is recovering, but the need remains to take a hard and honest look at the size and makeup of UTA—and make decisions that reflect what our business requires not just short term but for the foreseeable future. For that reason, today we are implementing a staff reduction that will affect about 50 of our colleagues. It’s always a difficult decision to make. The reductions will take place in several parts of our business and include both active and some furloughed colleagues. We are committed to doing our best by them with generous severance packages.
As for our other furloughed colleagues, we are not able to reinstate them at this time and, given the continued uncertainty, we can’t yet set any expectations about when that might happen. The most important thing we can do right now is continue to manage UTA carefully, deliberately and day-by-day. Tomorrow we’ll hold an All UTA meeting to discuss all this.
Although there are still uncertain times ahead, I am grateful for all we have accomplished together to bring us to this point. The successes we continue to achieve for clients are truly amazing. We have packaged, innovated, dreamed and sometimes simply willed into existence great and unique opportunities for artists across UTA.
We have shown up for each other, on every Zoom, day and night. The spirit of collaboration and teamwork is everywhere. Thanks for all your efforts, your faith and your commitment.