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No Strike: MPTF & Healthcare Workers Union Agree To New Talks

By | Friday March 15, 2013 @ 6:17pm PDT

Just days before a strike was set to start, management and the union representing healthcare workers at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s hospital and facilities today agreed to step back from the brink. Instead of picket lines going up at the MPTF’s Wasserman Camus hospital in Woodlands Hills and other venues on Monday, the two sides will now have a cooling off period of two months and enter into new talks. The Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West  has also consented to pull back on the unfair labor practices charges it brought against the MPTF earlier today in a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board. The SEIU-UHW represents around 500 nurses, their aides, medical-records workers and other caregivers at MPTF facilities. Read the joint statement released Friday by the MPTF and the SEIU-UHW here:

This afternoon, MPTF (Motion Picture and Television Fund) and the union representing certain of its employees, SEIU-UHW, jointly announced a 60-day cooling-off period during which time the two organizations will continue to negotiate in good faith toward a collective bargaining agreement. The announcement was made by Bob Beitcher, MPTF CEO, and Dave Regan, President of SEIU-UHW.

“I’m pleased we were able to reach this time out,” said Bob Beitcher, MPTF CEO. “After speaking at length with Dave, I feel more optimistic that the two sides can figure a way to reach a mutually satisfactory

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Healthcare Workers Union Files Charge Against MPTF With National Labor Relation Board

By | Friday March 15, 2013 @ 2:12pm PDT

With a strike scheduled to start on Monday, the union representing healthcare workers at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s hospital and facilities today took its case to the feds. The Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West filed a charge (read it here) of unfair labor practices and violation of the Labor Relations Act Friday against the MPTF with the National Labor Relations Board. This latest move comes one day after the union released 2011 tax forms revealing the big bucks CEO Bob Beitcher ($775,978) and other top officers received. Today it was a more formal approach. “Within the last six month preceding the filing of this charge the above-named employer, by and through its agents, violated Sections of 8(a)(1) and 8(a)(5) of the Act when it bargained in bad faith, refused to provide relevant and necessary bargaining information, and unlawfully and premature declared impasse,” said the SEIU’s filing. The SEIU-UHW represents around 500 nurses, their aides, medical-records workers and other caregivers at the MPTF’s Wasserman Camus hospital in Woodlands Hills and other venues.

Related: Enormous MPTF Executive Pay Exposed By Union
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Enormous MPTF Executive Pay Exposed By Union

By | Thursday March 14, 2013 @ 5:13pm PDT

On the eve of a Monday strike, the union that represents healthcare workers at the Motion Picture and Television Fund‘s hospital and facilities is taking a scorch Earth approach. The latest salvo by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West is providing Deadline with the MPTF’s 2011 IRS filing that reveals the premium compensation given top executives and employees at the non-profit. Obviously, this demonstrates the huge gap between what nurses and other caregivers earn and what the bigwigs make. (The average wage for a MPTF worker is around $45,300.) This info comes one day after the last scheduled bargaining session between the two sides ended in an impasse. It also comes after MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher asked “all of our staff to join in a shared sacrifice” on Wednesday in a statement on the organization’s website. Here is a list of what the top 5 MPTF officers and employees were paid in 2011:

Robert L. Beitcher – CEO : $775,978
(Salary: $550,860; Bonus: $196,666; Retirement/Deferred: $8,151; Other/Nontaxable Benefits: $20,301)

David B. Tillman M.D. – Former CEO (Retired in Feb. 2010): $848,662
(Severance Benefits: $597,320; Retirement/Deferred: $251,342)

Frank J, Guarrara – $581,023
(Salary: $332,129; Bonus: $50,00; Retirement/Deferred: $165,386; Other/Nontaxable Benefits:: $33,508)

Ken W. Scherer – $561,975
(Salary: $270.926; Bonus: $50,000; Retirement/Deferred: $211,765; Other/Nontaxable Benefits:: $29,284)

Seth H. Ellis – $385,372
(Salary: $240,817; Bonus: $50,000; Retirement/Deferred: $66,527; Other/Nontaxable Benefits: $28,028)

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Strike By Healthcare Workers Certain At MPTF; No More Talks Planned

Despite a looming strike next week, there was no last minute deal struck today in the last bargaining session between the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the union that represents the healthcare workers at the Wasserman Camus in Woodland Hills and other facilities. “After extensive good faith bargaining on MPTF’s part, we have reached an impasse. No further negotiating sessions have been planned,” said MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher in a statement Wednesday. Union officials insist they are still willing to meet in good faith with the MPTF before the three-day strike scheduled to start Monday night. However, with no deal on a new three-year contract and no one scheduled to talk further, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West says it does intend to follow through on the formal strike notice it gave the MPTF last week and hit the picket line starting late on March 18. Further action could follow, a source confirmed to me. Part of that action could stem from the MPTF’s intention to bring in replacement workers during the strike. “We have completed the polling of our employees and have lined up qualified temporary staffing for a five-day period starting Monday night for those employees who have elected to walk out. Patient and resident safety is and will always be our primary concern and … Read More »

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UPDATE: Healthcare Workers Union Notifies MPTF Of Strike Starting March 18

By | Friday March 8, 2013 @ 9:56pm PST

UPDATE, 9:56 PM: I just got a statement (see below) from MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher about the SEIU’s planned three-day strike. Expressing “surprise and disappointment” on the labor action, Beitcher says that “on Monday we will begin polling our represented employees on their intention to report to work during the strike and will initiate plans to replace those who are choosing to honor the strike.”

PREVIOUSLY, 7:32 PM: The union that represents workers at the Motion Picture and Television Fund facilities today gave management a strike notice. Unless a deal on a new three-year contract is reached in the next 10 days, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West intends to hit the picket line for three days starting late on March 18. Further action could follow. The notice comes a day after another bad bargaining session between the union and management that left the SEIU feeling that had no choice but to move towards escalating the situation “The MPTF don’t want to discuss anything but what they have put on the table. They had no interest in anything the union had to offer. It is the very definition of unfair labor practices,” a source close to events told me tonight. Another session is scheduled for March 13. However, I’ve learned that the union is willing to sit down on other days if management will too. Today’s move should come as no surprise as the SEIU … Read More »

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Union Didn’t Disrupt ‘Night Before’ Party

By | Sunday February 24, 2013 @ 2:21am PST

Deadline contributor Ross Lincoln reports that Beverly Hills Hotel security kept a handful of members of Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West well back from guests arriving for Saturday night’s 11th Annual ‘Night Before’ Oscars Party. It’s the fundraiser for the Motion Picture and Television Fund thrown by Jeffrey Katzenberg. Union personnel were prohibited from setting foot on hotel property, demarcated by blue tape on the sidewalk next to the main entrance and on the traffic island outside the hotel. As limos began to arrive, the party guests inside mostly didn’t notice the small contingent of SEIU members - 6 total - clustered in an inaccessible area. Any vehicles that did attempt to stop and see what was happening were waved on by hotel security. (“Driver, keep driving!”, security shouted at one car.) The leaflets which union reps attempted to pass out summarized their position: ”MPTF management repeatedly denies our efforts to guarantee a safe staffing ratio for patients and residents, which makes it harder to attract and keep qualified caregivers… please encourage management to provide the best patient care possible and to value their caregivers.”

At one point, a union picket line was threatened, but the SEIU settled for just leafletting. Contract talks have dragged on since August 2012 with the MPTF on a new 3-year pact for about 500 members at the MPTF’s Woodland Hills long-term care hospital which at one point Katzenberg wanted to close. The union issues are staffing ratios at the hospital as well as a … Read More »

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Union Leaflets, Not Pickets, For Katzenberg’s ‘Night Before’ Oscar Party For MPTF

By | Friday February 22, 2013 @ 4:28pm PST

Guests at Jeffrey Katzenberg’s 11th Annual ‘Night Before’ Oscars Fundraiser benefiting the Motion Picture and Television Fund tomorrow won’t have to worry about crossing a union picket line after all. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to ignore the contract talks battle between the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West and the MPTF. I’ve learned that the union plans to have members on the scene outside the Beverly Hills Hotel on Saturday as guests arrive. “It won’t be a formal picket line but more an informative leafleting,” says a source close to the situation. At around 6 PM, approximately 25 to 30 SEIU members who work at the MPTF’s Wasserman Campus hospital in Woodland Hills will start handing out flyers to arriving guests. The flyers will thank them for their support of the MPTF and urge them to ask the organization to “bargain in good faith.”  The SEIU hopes that this approach will show MPTF supporters that its concerns and contract desires are for the best of patient care at the hospital. The union says the main issues on the table are staffing ratios at the hospital as well as a doubling of healthcare premiums for its members; wages; and frozen retirement contributions. MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher told employees last month that staffing levels were not part of bargaining talks.

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Union Pickets MPTF Hospital; Is ‘Night Before’ Oscar Party Next?

By | Thursday February 21, 2013 @ 12:41pm PST

Ross Lincoln contributed to this report

The contract battle between union members and the Motion Picture and Television Fund spread today from the negotiating table to the streets. As I reported last week that they would, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West set up protest lines Thursday in front of the MPTF’s hospital in Woodland Hills and other MPTF locations in protest of the tepid state of the talks. Chanting, “What is this about? Patient care!” and “We’re healthcare workers fighting back!”, about 25 demonstrators marched on the sidewalk in front of the facility. While not a formal strike action, the protest could be an opening act for union members showing up outside Jeffrey Katzenberg’s 11th Annual “Night Before” Oscars Fundraiser for the MPTF on February 23 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. A source told me last week SEIU is “seriously considering” going on the line outside the charity event.

Said MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher in a statement for Deadline: “MPTF continues to believe that the best place to negotiate with SEIU is around a table and not on the street or in the press. We know that industry members who encounter the informational pickets today fully understand that there are at least two sides to every negotiation and will be able to see through the rhetoric and trust that MPTF deals fairly and equitably with its labor force.”

A source told Deadline the hospital has increased workloads today to make scheduling breaks more difficult and make it harder for employees to attend the demonstration. Read More »

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UPDATE: MPTF CEO “Encouraged” By Contract Talks As Union Prepares To Picket This Week

UPDATE, 8:34 AM: The union that represents healthcare workers at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s care facility and hospital is planning picket lines this week but the organization’s CEO says “progress was made” in the last set of talks between the two sides. “We were encouraged by this past week’s bargaining session with SEIU and a federal mediator,” said the MPTF’s Bob Beitcher in a statement today. In the February 14 meeting, the MPTF offered to open up their books to provide the SEIU will a full sense of their negotiating position, says a source close to the situation. The union, who won a strike authorization vote from their members on January 30, is planning to picket MPTF offices and the Woodland Hills hospital on February 21. More visibly, the SEIU is considering a picket line at Jeffrey Katzenberg’s February 23 ‘Night Before’ charity event for the MPTF at the Beverly Hill Hotel. Read MPTF CEO Beitcher’s full statement here:

We were encouraged by this past week’s bargaining session with SEIU and a federal mediator.  Progress was made in resolving a long list of open contract points and both parties were actively engaged in narrowing the discussions to a few key issues.  To facilitate additional progress, MPTF and SEIU continue to comply with additional information requests and MPTF has agreed to provide an educational workshop for SEIU’s bargaining unit.  We are hopeful that the next bargaining session on March 7th will take us even closer to achieving a mutually satisfactory 3-year agreement.

PREVIOUSLY, FEB. 15: Jeffrey Katzenberg’s 11th Annual ‘Night Before’ Oscars Fundraiser benefitting the Motion Picture and Television Fund on February 23rd could suffer a pre-strike union picket line. That’s because of a stalemated bargaining session Thursday between the MPTF and the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West. I have learned that the powerful union is “strongly considering” going out on the line at the charity event at the Beverly Hills Hotel. That would present guests with a dilemma because some notables also belong to unions — Hollywood guilds — and won’t want to cross the picket line. The gala has been protested before – but by families and concerned friends of the long-term care hospital and units when Katzenberg decided to close them. The guests in limousines simply whizzed past the demonstrators barely giving them a glance. But last year’s fundraiser went off without a hitch when a compromise was reached to keep the long-term care facilities open. Read More »

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MPTF CEO Says Union Wrong About Main Issue Causing Labor Dispute

By | Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 12:46pm PST

The growing labor action at the Motion Picture and Television Fund‘s care facility and hospital has nothing to do with staffing issues, the nonprofit’s CEO said today. “Staffing levels has not been a part of our negotiations with SEIU since September 2012.  Rather, the issues are all economic — wages, share of health insurance costs, and pension benefits,” says Bob Beitcher. He was responding to Wednesday’s strike authorization vote by the employees at the facility and the ongoing negotiations between the union and management. The Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West have insisted that low staffing levels are what is “pushing” their actions. Click over for Beitcher’s full statement: Read More »

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MPTF Hospital Workers Clear Way For Strike

By | Wednesday January 30, 2013 @ 7:14pm PST

Union members at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s care facility and hospital today overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike. While that doesn’t mean the nurses, their aides, medical-records workers and other caregivers are walking off the job immediately, it does mean they could if current negotiations between the facility and SEIU over staffing and other issues break down. “Negotiations with the facility’s management are ongoing but our members wanted to be in a position to act if necessary,” Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West spokesman Jarard Kings told Deadline. Earlier today, MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher sent out a letter (read it here) to union members telling them that management’s offers are “fair, maybe even generous, compared to other organizations. About 500 members of the SEIU-UHW are employed at the MPTF’s Wasserman Campus in Woodland Hills. Of those 500 members, 120 are direct caregivers, the union says.Over three days of voting, 300 members cast a ballot with 98% approving the strike authorization.

At issue in this latest crisis at the venue are low staffing levels, raised health care premiums and frozen retirement contributions. “What’s pushing and driving this action are the staffing issues. The staff ratios are not good and if there just aren’t enough people then the health care workers can’t do their jobs properly,” Kings said. “We put out a package for … Read More »

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