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When production changes your timecard...


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#1 Christopher T. Paul- SOC

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 09:20 PM

Hey Folks,

I just did a pick-up day on a studio picture in NY as an additional operator. My camera was never used, and so I was released after 7 hours and told that they didn't need me for the next day. No big deal, as I had a deal memo arranged by my agent, and thought that I was gauranteed the second day's pay regardless. I put in my timecard for both days, and was somewhat shocked to see that I was only paid for one. I never got a phonecall about the change, and neither did my agent.

Is production allowed to do this? I thought that it was illegal, (never mind unethical), for them to change timecards. When I called the LA office I was told that if I could produce the signed deal memo, that they would talk to me further, but that they had nothing to say to me until I faxed this to them, I was quite polite and this accountant was quite adversarial.

I called my agent to learn that since I was hired at the last minute on a friday, that they never recieved back the deal memo faxed to production. The NY local who hired me now claims that he never read it, and that he certainly never signed it. So I am left out in the cold.

So now, the recourse that I thought I had I no longer have... unless any one out there has any great ideas???

Thanks in advance.

CP
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#2 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 10:12 PM

In a word...NO.

A signed timecard is a legal document that cannot be changed by anyone but you.
Sadly, like SO many other employment laws, this is yet another that gets broken in the "film" business all the time.

If you have a signed document that states you are guaranteed the second day, they need to pay you.
Union rules allow them to cancel you for the second day as long as there is a 12 hour advance, but your signed deal memo supercedes that since they agreed to it, and signed it.

You need to contact first the accounting dept. of that show and see if it was a mistake and let them know that you were guaranteed both days.
They'll probably pass you on to the producer or UPM.
At this point talk to them kindly and professionally and remind them of the deal memo they signed and agreed too.
If they still refuse to pay, it's your call.

You have the right to "go after" them for the days wages you lost and you'd EASILY win in small claims court.
However, you'll never work for that company again then.

Hopefully the producers are upstanding people and correct the "mistake" after you call them out on it. If not, it's just another reason to have a "producers/productions" to avoid section on this forum for failure to pay you for your agreed employment.

Good luck
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#3 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 11 October 2006 - 10:43 PM

Big problem on their part, in fact it's a federal tax violation to alter a time card. If they have done it to you they have probably done it to others and if you call the IRS and suggest that they look into companies accounting and the IRS finds problems and recovers from them you will get 10% of their recovery....

Your agent might want to remind the production company of this.
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#4 Christopher T. Paul- SOC

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 08:07 AM

Thanks for the responses, guys.

My agent did bring this to the attention of the UPM, amd the local NY producer and they are the ones who are saying that they never read the deal memo, (real professional guys!), and certainly never signed it.

Frankly I am stunned to have someone at this level admit that they never read a binding legal contract, and refuse to honor it.

I have done 4 pics with the majors, and seven or eight indies over the years, and never have I had a problem with the indies, but the majors always seem to be looking to screw you in any way possible- taking it to a confrontational level at times when all you are asking for is what was promised at the outset.

Gee, I'm so glad that I decided to work for scale and take a 75% cut in pay!
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#5 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 12 October 2006 - 04:06 PM

I had a situation a few years ago where the UPM was changing timecards (almost everyone's). I noticed this because I wasn't getting any meal penalties (we went into penalty almost every day). It was a non-union show, but meal penalties are guaranteed by the state of CA, so I still should have gotten them. When I asked the UPM about it he denied it of course, so I called the payroll company and they confirmed that I was correct about the law but refused to show me the timecards that had been turned in for me by the UPM. I basically hit a dead end and ended up doing nothing about it (besides demanding that we break on time or close to it every day). I've often wondered what recourse I had in that situation. Does anyone know what I could have or should have done?
Sorry to stray from your issue Christopher. I don't want to hijack the thread.
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#6 Imran Naqvi

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 11:06 AM

I had a situation a few years ago where the UPM was changing timecards (almost everyone's). I noticed this because I wasn't getting any meal penalties (we went into penalty almost every day). It was a non-union show, but meal penalties are guaranteed by the state of CA, so I still should have gotten them. When I asked the UPM about it he denied it of course, so I called the payroll company and they confirmed that I was correct about the law but refused to show me the timecards that had been turned in for me by the UPM. I basically hit a dead end and ended up doing nothing about it (besides demanding that we break on time or close to it every day). I've often wondered what recourse I had in that situation. Does anyone know what I could have or should have done?
Sorry to stray from your issue Christopher. I don't want to hijack the thread.


This might seem paranoid, but you could always make a copy of the timecard with a digital camera before submitting it as proof?
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#7 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 05:38 AM

This might seem paranoid, but you could always make a copy of the timecard with a digital camera before submitting it as proof?

I would have (especially after I noticed the discrepancy), but I didn't own a digital camera.
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