You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

How MPTF Helps Workers in Crisis: ‘It’s Like Having a Family’

As president of the IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) union, Matthew Loeb has had a front-row seat to the benefits offered by the Motion Picture and Television Fund.

“Nobody is prepared for economic and physical and emotional crises in their lives,” says Loeb, who serves on the fund’s board. “MPTF has been a great backstop for people to not suffer devastating effects from all kinds of various issues that they face in their lives.”

Loeb says the fund does a “exemplary job” compared to the other charities he works with. “I think that they are just really responsive,” he says. “We really are able to hone in on what a given individual’s challenge is and bring solutions to them and their problems.”

Case in point: Alex Aguilar, Jr., was working on a movie set in 2007 when the writers’ strike hit. A laborer who’d followed in his father’s footsteps, Aguilar thought the strike would be short-lived, or perhaps his project would be exempt because the writers were also co-producers.

No such luck. As the strike stretched from days to weeks to months, Aguilar — now the business manager for Labor Local 724 — found himself and his family in dire financial straits. “We thought we’d be safe,” he recounts today. “But of course we weren’t.” To make matters worse, his wife — who was pregnant with their third child — was put on bed rest. “We basically had no income coming in,” he recalls. “We had gone through all of our savings. We were at that point where I was going to fall behind.”

Friends helped out with weekly grocery deliveries; he decided to sell his car, sending out a desperate text to everyone he knew hoping to find a buyer. Then someone suggested he call MPTF. “What do I have to lose?” he recalls thinking.

The social worker who responded told him to bring in all of his bills — and the fund ended up covering his mortgage and utility bills, to help bridge the gap until the strike ended. “It was an amazing thing,” Aguilar says. “I’m so thankful it was there for me and it is there today. Who knows what would have happened?”

Now back on his feet financially, he’s gotten actively involved with MPTF — he serves on the committee for events like the upcoming “Day at the Races” on October 22 to help give money to workers like him. he says.

“There’s no better feeling than being a part of something that helps you,” he says. “I don’t think too many people can say that. Because I lived it and now I’m doing it for others.”

And when members of his union need help, he knows just where to send them. “We’ve had several guys [who’ve reached out to MPTF], including one whose house burned down,” he says.

Now he’s proud to call MPTF a “family.” “I consider MPTF an extended family who helped me when I needed it most,” he says. “I don’t know that I would be here in the same situation and in this position if it wasn’t for MPTF.”

(pictured: Alex Aguilar Jr. and his family) 

More Biz

  • Leslie Moonves

    Leslie Moonves Quietly Exits AFI and Paley Center Boards

    Leslie Moonves, the ousted CEO of CBS Corp. who has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women, is no longer serving on the boards of trustees of the American Film Institute and the Paley Center for Media. For now, Moonves retains his seat on the board of gaming company ZeniMax Media. The appointments on [...]

  • DOJ Indicts Five in Piracy Ring

    Department of Justice Indicts Five in International Piracy Ring

    Five men were indicted Wednesday on charges that they hacked into the servers of production companies, and stole hundreds of films and TV shows, including “50 Shades of Grey” and “The Walking Dead.” The men are based in four countries — the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, and India. Only one has been [...]

  • Endeavor Sued Over Idaho Country Music

    Endeavor Sued Over Idaho Country Music Festival

    A former county official in rural Idaho sued Endeavor on Wednesday, alleging she is owed more than $190,000 in unpaid loans arising from a troubled country music festival. According to her complaint, Bonnie Layton was the economic development director for Elmore County, Idaho, when she came in contact with the organizers of the Mountain Home [...]

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Weinstein Attorney: 'Many of These Women Have Lied'

    Harvey Weinstein’s attorney blasted the Manhattan D.A.’s office on Wednesday, arguing that prosecutors brought a flawed case in haste due to public pressure. Ben Brafman sent a letter to Judge James Burke, who is scheduled to hear a motion to dismiss the case next week. In it, he responded to Assistant D.A. Kevin Wilson, who [...]

  • 2019 Variety Predictions

    2019 Predictions: What's in Store for Film, TV and Music Next Year?

    It would be hard to top the drama of 2018. From media mega-mergers to the rise of Time’s Up, it was a year that had more than its fair share of twists and turns. Leslie Moonves resigned in disgrace, AT&T snapped up Time Warner, Disney inched closer to subsuming Fox and “Black Panther” shattered box [...]

  • Tencent Music Raises $1.1 Billion for

    Tencent Music Raises $1.1 Billion for IPO, Much Less Than Expected

    China-based music streaming company Tencent Music Entertainment Group said it raised nearly $1.1 billion in its U.S. initial public offering, according to Reuters. Earlier this year, the company was expected to be valued at as much as $30 billion and raise $4 billion for its IPO, but those estimates were slashed in September. The IPO [...]

  • Justin Tranter and Katie Vinten Partner

    Justin Tranter and Katie Vinten Partner With Warner Bros. for New Label

    As previously reported, hit songwriter Justin Tranter and Warner/Chappell Publishing’s Katie Vinten are launching a new label in partnership with Warner Bros. Records, the company announced officially today. In her new role, Vinten, most recently the company’s co-head of A&R, will also serve as an A&R Consultant to Warner Bros. Records and will continue with [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content