So now we come to the “biggie.” I say that, because this was the propaganda tool regarding merger. I’m not saying that because I don’t feel it is ultra important…I do. Remember, I’m many years vested (meaning I have a pension), so the bottom line is that it means a great deal to me. However, the level of concern I feel is a slight exaggeration. The existing pensions are guaranteed, the question is more about eventually merging them. Now, I stood by the existing leadership at SAG prior to the merger, showing faith that they would not screw this up…considering how many of them have a pension at risk too.The simple reality is that the pensions were both funded in very different ways and held in two different ways. What I want to see US do is push the new union merger to “marry” the two pensions within 12 months. Remember, the reason for merging and “collective bargaining” strength has NOTHING to do with our pension. The merger has to do with intelligent unionism, intelligent administrative staff and operations costs, along with simply streamlining our talent and future. Our pension is about money made, saved, invested and stored BASED on the monies made from the contracts we’ve collectively bargained with the strength of two huge unions coming together.
The reality is, many many pension plans amongst corporate companies, have been merged over the years. There has been a feasibility study, as well as a lot of precedent, and while yes there are unique elements to different pension plans the reality it can be done and it must be done…sooner than later. But do understand that while the merger has passed until ALL of the contracts we negotiate come up for RE-negotiation, we are still working with them “as is” which means the pension construct stands as it relates to the construct. So while we can and should remain focused on the solution, it is likely going to get married with the process of renegotiating our contracts as they come up, one of which is coming soon…the COMMERCIAL contract.
What I truly encourage you to do, is ask as many questions as you can, as well as attend meetings. If you have ANY interest in making money at this profession, then I ask you “what are you working for or towards?” It this just a pipe dream, or are you truly looking at it as a career, in which you’re investing your life, and therefore vested in your future and retirement. Yes, I know for many of you, this seems like an odd thought…but this conversation is the one that really brings “being a working actor professionally” HOME in terms of what you’re doing with your time.
So when you think of a pension you may be starting, already in the process of building, or simply thinking of what you could have one day understand that it isn’t as much about the “collective bargaining” strength hopefully that the merger will provide, but much much more about how the pension is constructed and funded. And yes, currently the two pensions have relatively different constructs, and our leadership needs to work with high-level professionals and legal 401K type individuals and firms to resolve this mixing of these two funds. But, it will get done, and at the end of the day…the REAL money related to your pension comes down to ONE word…RESIDUALS. We have to ensure that we continue to retain our RESIDUAL income at a level consistent and a “fair market value” related to the success of the AMPTP members/companies/producers.
So always separate out our contracts from how we save/invest our monies in a pension, but realize the more we make on the front end, the more we have for the future. My best always. Kevin E.