LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Innovative Artists has rankled some of its rank and file assistants by terminating their health care benefits which the company had previously provided.
Retroactive to June 1st, the company made the cuts, affecting about 70 staffers to everyone but agents, junior agents and certain administrative staff, Variety reported.
"We're getting $100 less than anyone in town, we get no over time and we have to pay for parking which is down the street" one anonymous company source told Variety "Now we have no health insurance. At the Christmas party, Harris was boasting about profits and growth. No one knew there were money issues. Maybe we're young and naive, but we like to think that the bottom line isn't just money."
The affected staffers threatened a day long "sick-out" but few actually called in sick. Instead, they contented themselves with a lunch meeting to plan their next move.
Agency president Scott Harris had implemented the cuts as a cost-saving measure after some less-than-stellar negotiations with insurance firms, as detailed in a memo obtained by Variety which was issued shortly before the lunch meeting.
In part, the memo outlined what options Harris felt he had:
A) To switch to an inferior insurance company that I know would make everyone on the plan unhappy (because they make the claims process a nightmare even though they had the lowest bid by far).
B) Figure out how to deal with another huge rate hike without changing companies AND the growing demand I also felt compelled to address this year which is the need to better compensate our assistant team.
I chose to go with option "B" for numerous reasons.
Harris has indicated that affected staff will be compensated for the loss of benefits, again, retroactively to June 1st but as of yet he "still needs to figure out the new compensation schedule for our assistants." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers