The labor dispute between the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the union representing 500 MPTF caregivers and other employees took a personal turn Thursday, with the union responding to the MPTF’s claim of economic hardship by publicizing the hospital’s executive salaries.
Those numbers, as reflected in the MPTF’s most recent federal charity filings, show that CEO Bob Beitcher earned over $775,000 in salary and bonuses in 2011.
In a statement Wednesday, Beitcher had rejected union proposals as too expensive and said, "We are asking all of our staff to join in a shared sacrifice."
STORY: MPTF Strike to Start Monday After Talks Stall
Other executives in the top 10 on staff in 2011 made from about $225,000 to about $580,000.
The union, the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, said that MPTF declined to provide more recent figures.
In an exclusive interview with Beitcher said, "We pay our staff, including me, at market rates as determined by outside comp(ensation) experts." He said his compensation was about half of what he had made at his previous job as head of Panavision and that he had neither asked for nor received an increase over the past three years.
SEIU said it’s asking for wage increases that amount to under 2 percent per year: specifically, a freeze in the first year of a new three-year contract, then 2 or 3 percent annual increases in each of the following two years. (Beitcher told that the figures were 0 percent, 3 percent and 3 percent.)
"We continue to make concessions," said a union spokesperson, describing recent negotiations to , "and we continue to get the stonewall of ‘no.’"
“There’s a basic gap,” said Beitcher, “in the union’s understanding of MPTF’s financial condition and the realities of the marketplace.”
The ongoing labor dispute concerns staffing levels, wage rates, proposed new health-insurance premiums and a proposed freeze of employees’ existing pension plan. Beitcher says the staffing levels claim by the union "is a red herring," adding "We’re a regulated business. What employer is going to let a union dictate staffing levels?"
The union will strike from Monday through Thursday next week. A union-side source said more negotiations are likely after that, although no dates have been set yet. MPTF’s Beitcher declined to predict when or whether there would be more bargaining.