IATSE targeting post house 4MC

Say company refused to comply with court order

Almost two dozen IATSE locals have embarked on a crusade against Burbank post-production house 4MC for allegedly refusing to comply with a court order to come up with $9 million in back pay for employees.

Union members allege that 4MC managers have “dragged their feet, obfuscated, and intimidated their employees,” who have not had union representation since the company was formed in 1993 by ATS Acquisitions Corp. from what had been Compact Video, Image Transform and Meridian Studios.

“We’ve been in a court battle with them for five years,” said Motion Picture Editors Guild Local 776 organizer Eric Chaudron. “We’ve sat down with them five times just since December ’97 and they’ve presented absolutely nothing. They basically presented their employee handbook and asked us to sign it.”

Chaudron said 4MC, which employs about 800 people and is formally known as Four Media Co., has “refused to consider the Hollywood Basic Agreement,” to which all International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees locals are bound.

4MC’s senior management, including Robert Walston, John Donlan and Bob Bailey, did not return phone calls seeking comment. Neither did the company’s attorney, Richard Kopenhefer.

Last Friday, union members staged a demonstration outside 4MC’s headquarters, complete with bagpipe escort and a plane flying overhead pulling a banner that said, “4MC Make a Deal.”

Gavin Koon, exec director of Scenic, Title and Graphic Artists Guild Local 816, asked, “What is 4MC afraid of?”

Lengthy litigation resulted in a July, 1997, court order mandating back pay for previously unionized workers who had been hired by 4MC from Compact Video but whose wages had been slashed in the process. In October last year, the court upheld a National Labor Relations Board ruling that 4MC had a duty to bargain with IATSE.