×

Union pensioners reap benefits

Hollywood’s union pensioners will be seeing more dough in their monthly staple as many of the major Guilds are reporting sizable increases in their pension plans which, in turn, means bigger payouts to members.

One of the largest increases in benefits was recently initiated by the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists. Over the last two years, the Guild’s trustees have increased pensions by 50%, targeted to most dramatically affect lower and middle income earners.

“Our investment program has been very successful and we found that we could afford to increase pensions,” noted Bill Hillman, chairman of AFTRA’s Health & Retirement Funds Trustees.

Currently AFTRA’s pension plan has assets of approximately $ 838 million.

Similarly the Screen Actors Guild pension plan, which has also initiated increases to its membership, rose this past year from $ 842 million to $ 914 million. Pension officials are projecting that the fund’s assets will exceed $ 1 billion by the end of 1993.

“We’ve done very well on our investments,” said Bruce Dow, administrator of SAG’s pension plan.

In other words, they didn’t invest in junk bonds and have small holdings in L.A.’s slumping commercial real estate market, he said. The majority of investments have been in stocks and high-grade bonds.

As of Jan. 1, Actors’ Equity’s pension plan was valued around $ 311 million, which prompted trustees to increase accruals from 2% to 2.25% and allow pensioners to accrue higher pensions in the future.

“We’re always faced with either increasing those benefits or facing the possible loss of that surplus to the government,” noted George Ives, Equity’s western regional director.

In AFTRA’s case, trustees decided to increase the percentage paid out on the first $ 100,000 earned from 2% to 2.4% (amounting to a 20% increase). Additionally they raised the maximum amount applied to a member’s total compensation plan from $ 200,000 to $ 228,860.

The raise in the maximum amount was in accordance with recent IRS changes.

While the changes will most dramatically affect lower- and middle- income performers, Hillman said those who earn more than $ 200,000 a year also will see a rise in their pension checks. Those who earned between $ 100,000 and $ 200,000 annually won’t be affected.

These changes will affect AFTRA members who retire on or after Dec. 1, 1992. Those who retired before that date will see a 15% increase in their pension payouts.

One union pension plan that will not initiate increases to its pensioners this year will be the Writers Guild of America West.

“The margin that generally exists to enable the trust to make benefit increases was not there for this year,” noted Rocco N. Calabrese, administrator of the Producer-Writers Guild of America Pension plan. “So the trustees made the decision to not increase benefits.”

This marks the first time in 10 years that the fund, which currently has between $ 500 and $ 600 million, has not initiated increases to its earners.

More Biz

  • The dark Manhatten skyline, seen from

    StubHub Refunds $500,000 to Customers Shut Out by New York Blackout

    Saturday’s blackout in New York had an outsized effect on the city’s nightlife, with Madison Square Garden and the entire Broadway district seeing multiple shows cancelled due to the the power outage. As a result, StubHub has refunded more than $500,000 worth of tickets for cancelled events. According to a statement from the company, the StubHub [...]

  • Weapons Cache

    D.A. Files 64 Charges in Bel-Air Weapons Stockpile Case

    The L.A. County District Attorney’s office has filed 64 counts against Girard Saenz, the man who allegedly kept a stockpile of more than 1,000 weapons at a Bel-Air home linked to the Getty family. Saenz is accused of illegal possession of assault weapons, transferring handguns without a dealer license, possession of short-barreled shotguns, and possession [...]

  • 9-1-1: Angela Bassett in the series

    Fox Sees Primetime, Sports Ad Gains As TV Upfront Wraps

    Fox Corporation is the latest to benefit from stronger-than-expected trends in TV ad spending, as the company notched strong gains in advertising commitments for its next cycle of programming – its first since selling off a large chunk of its media assets to Walt Disney. Ad demand was stronger than many executives anticipated, according to [...]

  • BMI Promotes David Levin to Senior

    BMI Promotes David Levin to Senior VP of Licensing

    BMI today announced that David Levin has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Licensing, effective immediately. In his newly expanded role, Levin is responsible for all of BMI’s domestic licensing and revenue generation, encompassing radio, television, digital media, cable, satellite and general licensing.  Levin, who will oversee teams in New York and Nashville, reports [...]

  • Warner Music Group Logo

    Warner Music Acquires Musical Theater Indie First Night Records

    Warner Music Group has acquired First Night Record, an independent record label for West End and Broadway musical theatre cast recordings. The company will be overseen by WMG’s Arts Music Division, led by President Kevin Gore. First Night co-founder John Craig will join the Arts Music team under a multi-year consulting agreement to identify and record musical theatre productions in [...]

  • Woodstock 50 to Hold Open House

    Woodstock 50 to Hold Open House for Local Residents Before Permit Review Tuesday

    If nothing else, the producers of Woodstock 50 are persistent. After two permit applications to hold the troubled festival at the Vernon Downs racetrack in Upstate New York were rejected by the town of Vernon codes office, the producers and venue owner Jeffrey Gural today invited the local community “to embrace the Festival’s spirit of [...]

  • ILM Star Wars The Force Awakens

    ILM to Open Latest Effects Facility in Sydney, Australia

    Sydney, Australia, is to be home to Industrial Light & Magic’s fifth production hub. The Disney-owned special effects company currently has facilities in San Francisco, Vancouver, London and Singapore. The decision to open the Sydney outpost was announced Monday local time by executive creative director and head of ILM Rob Bredow, ILM executive Luke Hetherington, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content