The battle between the Motion Picture & Television Fund and the health care workers who look after some of its resident-care retirees is getting dirty.
As the workers prepared to strike Monday they unleashed potentially embarrassing salary figures for some MPTF executives while also announcing that the National Labor Relations Board is looking into the labor impasse:
SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West today unleashed the latest salary figures it could find for some of the MPTF's top people. (The numbers are from 2011). The SEIU says in a statement sent to the Weekly and other outlets:
CEO Bob Beitcher received almost $800,000 in salary and benefits during that year, but in a recent news article he complained that he hadn't had a raise in three years and was making less than he did in a previous job. Three other executives reported income exceeding $500,000. The top 10 executives collectively were paid $4 million, an amount equal to hiring dozens of frontline caregivers in MPTF facilities for one year.
Management has cut off negotiations, the union says. Milton Morataya, an activities coordinator for the SEIU at the MPTF's Woodland Hills facility says:
We are ready to negotiate day and night to reach a fair contract settlement, but management has slammed the door shut on us with their 'take it or leave it' attitude and refusal to bargain in good faith.
The union says the federal board, meanwhile, has agreed to look into …
… management's decision to prematurely break off contract negotiations, and failure to submit alternative proposals, as news broke about management's exorbitant salaries.
The federal agency also will review MPTF's failure to divulge information sought by workers, including organizational finances, current executive compensation, special executive retirement programs, and bonuses.
The MPTF argues that the SEIU hasn't been flexible at a time when its health care costs are increasing:
Our primary objective now and during the negotiations has been to establish an economic framework that will allow us to sustain the services of MPTF today and for future generations of industry members. We have been completely transparent with SEIU-UHW with regard to our financial condition. An organization like ours relies heavily on federal and state healthcare reimbursements, and these are shrinking by the moment.
… As we have pointed out at the bargaining table, our overall compensation practices are highly competitive. The union has been unwilling or unable to dispute that.