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Should We “Continue the Progress”?

April 19, 2010

• Hundreds of gainfully employed members, and their dependents, will lose health coverage in 2011 due to the 400 hour qualification requirement. Many new members may never be able to qualify. Meanwhile, residuals and hourly contributions from the 8 to 399 hours worked by these unqualified members will continue to fund the health plan for those who do qualify.

• We now have to make our own pay deals on Internet projects without any of the customary protections for staffing, job description, work hours, or working conditions.

• We face the possible loss of over a half century of successful protection under California’s corporation laws. {This may be stopped if enough members Vote No on the “Green Ballot” initiative.)

• A Top-Down “we know what’s best for you” style of governance has become the norm in Local 600. Dissenting opinions on corporate dissolution and other issues are routinely swept under the rug.    

 • Members with reduced employment due to the economy as well as members retired or near to retirement are now unable to run for office or board due to a new “120 hours in the last 3 years” requirement. Among those denied candidacy is Haskell Wexler, ASC, who has served this union faithfully for decades.

• The local’s operating budget keeps climbing. Costs have not been kept in check during the economic downturn. Are our “Trustees” examining the books to look for ways to save money?

• We have spent $1,200,000 on a computer system, almost twice the original estimate. This expensive system is still not up and running. A single adequately powerful and easily networkable computer costs less than $1,000. Assuming we spent as much as $200,000 on computers, servers, printers, and other hardware, does $1,000,000 sound like a fair price for a custom database program?

 • ICG Magazine continues to run $400,000 to $500,000 into the red each year.

• The cost of prescription drugs, especially newer, more effective non-generic medicines, went up again. Now there is even a penalty if a doctor directs you to use the brand name medication.

• Motion Picture clinics in Los Angeles are now charging a co-pay for the first time.

• If the health plan is used as a secondary insurer (for those with separately covered spouses) it will only pay a percentage based upon what the plan would have paid had it been the primary. This often means no more help with co-pays. (In our family, for example, due to the arcane “birthday rule”, all of our son’s doctors must use my wife’s insurance as his primary.)

• No progress has been made nor has legislation been passed to return lost jobs from abroad through the type of tax incentive programs championed by the current administration.

Isn’t it high time to rethink this brand of “progress”?

With Great Respect,
Jeffrey Alan Goldenberg

Categories: Progress?