Tell Me Your Experience With Yurcor In NYC!

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In late 2011, I became aware of unusual and unexplained deductions from the paychecks of visual effects artists working at The Mill in Santa Monica. Subsequently, I learned about Yurcor and its “Employer of Record” services for The Mill. The more I learned, the more I questioned whether the deductions were lawful. I wrote a few posts about the situation and perhaps you read them.

This spurred quite a few artists, who worked for VFX houses using Yurcor’s “Employer of Record” services, on both coasts to contact me. A few artists in California indicated they were willing to take action on behalf of their peers to recover the amounts deducted, and I helped them to get started doing so. Those individuals brought a class-action lawsuit against the Mill and Yurcor with respect to their California employees. That case has been tentatively settled subject to final court approval, which is currently scheduled for April.

The New York artists originally voiced many of the same complaints made in California, but added that the practice was much more prevalent in NYC. We are now ready, willing and able to help New York artists.

If you’re a New York artist who has worked through Yurcor and interested in attempting to recover questionable deductions made by Yurcor, please fill out the form linked below. Even if you have already done so, please fill it out again now so we can be sure our information is up to date. I will get back to you very soon.

Animation Guild NYC Yurcor Form

SIGGRAPH 2013

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As it’s so eloquently put on their website:

Now in its 40th year, the SIGGRAPH conference is the premier international event on computer graphics and interactive techniques. SIGGRAPH 2013 is expected to draw more than 20,000 professionals from five continents to Anaheim, California.

I’ve been attending the SIGGRAPH conference since the late 90′s when I started working in VFX. I’ve always enjoyed meandering through the exhibition hall to gawk at the new updates and technology that is typically shown there. It’s only in the last few that I started to appreciate the “conference” part of the conference by attending discussions and presentations.

This year, I’ll be spending most of my time at the IATSE Exhibit Hall booth along with reps from Local 600, Local 700 and Local 891. Here’s a map of the exhibit hall highlighting the IA booth.

I’m also participating in two discussions: a Birds of a Feather discussion called From Golden Statue to Pink Slip: A Conversation on the State of the Industry, and a panel discussion called The State of the Visual Effects Industry.

If you’re planning to attend the conference, stop by any of those and say hello. I’ll return to posting answers to common VFX organizing questions, as well as host another Ask Me Anything chat, next week.

VFX AMA, Today at 2:00pm PDT

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As promised, today I will hold the first VFX Organizing “Ask Me Anything” session. I hope that chat sessions like these will become a place where visual effects professionals can feel comfortable about approaching a representative of the IATSE with their questions about the unionization of the industry.

I will be using HipChat and asking those interested in participating in the conversation to join a chat room that I’ll create as a guest. I also ask that any guest feel free to use their real name and location (ie. Steve Kaplan – LA) or if you wish to remain anonymous, name yourself by using your city and primary job in the industry (ie. New York – MoGraph). Understand that you may need to get creative with the spelling if these become popular enough.

In order to provide you the link to the chat room, I have to open it first. Anyone interested can login to the room and wait until the start time of 2:00pm Pacific Daylight Time. Unfortunately, I will be busy before 2:00pm and will not be able to answer any questions that are posed before I get into the conversation. If you’re interested in participating, point your browser to the following link:

http://www.hipchat.com/gS2vJ77lW

This should go without saying. Please remember to be polite and courteous to those in attendance. I am looking forward to spirited discussions, and hope that everyone can be respectful of each other and not drag the conversation down with unpleasantness.

I look forward to speaking with those who attend.

The Organizing of Nickelodeon CG

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If you happen to follow the TAG Blog, you may have seen the post that memorializes the ratification vote at Nick CG a few days ago. Between the hours of 12pm and 2pm, 61 of the 70 eligible voters cast their ballots to decide if the agreement struck between the negotiation committee and the studio was acceptable. 55 of those 61 people said it was, and with that, the artists of Nickelodeon CG joined their traditional animation colleagues as members of Local 839, IATSE – The Animation Guild.

This unit holds a special place with me. It was the first assignment that I was given by Steve Hulett when I started with the Guild. I learned quite a lot from what transpired in the past three years, and I’d like to share some of the important points here.

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VFX Organizing AMA for Friday Pushed To Monday

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While I’m sure many of you were excited to connect with me or even just wanted to start using HipChat, I’m forced to reschedule the first Ask Me Anything to Monday, the 15th of July. I am fortunate to be able to attend a ratification vote at Nickelodeon tomorrow. The CG Unit has reached an agreement with the studio and that agreement will be voted on tomorrow by the members of the unit.

I look forward to speak with any interested on Monday. I will keep the same time, 2:00pm to 4:00pm and post the link to the chat room before lunch.

VFX Organizing Answers – AMA

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As I mentioned previously, I’ve been introduced to the web-based chat forum, HipChat. I feel this could be a great forum for a weekly chat session where any questions regarding the unionization of the industry could be posed. I’ll do my best to keep things orderly and provide answers to questions that are posed to me.

The goal is to make this a weekly gathering where information about the effort to bring the benefits of focused leverage to the artists of visual effects can be shared by a representative of the IATSE. It seems to me that there are plenty of lingering questions in the vfx community and having a regular and consistent time to pose those questions could help bring clarity and familiarity with the concept of unionization. I would like to start these chats on Friday afternoons and keep the chat room open for two hours. I imagine this structure will change over time.

One big advantage to HipChat is that it offers a web-based forum that both looks and feels like a regular IM chat. Anonymity will be allowed as the only credentials you’ll need to provide as a “guest” to the chat room is a name. Feel free to use your real name, if your comfortable. If not, try to identify yourself in a unique way that gives everyone an idea as to where you are and what you do in VFX. Something like “LA Comper” or “Vancouver TD”.

The first of these chats will take place this Friday, July 12th from 2:00pm to 4:00pm Pacific Daylight Time. I will post the link to the chat room on Friday around 12:00 noon PDT. It should go without saying, but just in case .. please remember to be polite and courteous to those in attendance. I am looking forward to spirited discussions, but will quickly end the chat if it becomes acrimonious or a flame war. I do not have the ability to kick out guests to a HipChat room, so I’ll simply end the chat all together if it comes to that.

I look forward to speaking with anyone interested in attending.

Wait .. so how many cards do we need?

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Apparently, I’ve not done a very good job explaining what the purpose and use of the Authorization Cards is. Here, I’ll attempt to explain why the cards are needed, how many cards are needed as is prescribed by law, and how all this applies to VFX Organizing. Hopefully this will help clarify the use of, and therefore the need for, the cards.

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