July 24, 2024

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PGA Health Insurance Benefits Plan Sees Spielberg’s Amblin & JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot Sign On

3 min read

The Producers Guild of America’s ongoing efforts to ensure health insurance benefits for all its members just got an intergalactic boost.

In a significant step towards greater coverage, the homes of E.T., the latest iterations of Star Trek, a Justice League and a Star Wars flick or two have all signed on to the Guild’s move to cover qualified and full-time producers.

More precisely, Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, Atlas Entertainment, J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath’s Bad Robot Productions, Closer Media, Confluential Films, De Line Pictures, Di Novi Pictures, and Fremantle are on board with the PGA’s February launched initiative. As are Gran Via Productions, Groundswell Pictures, Homegrown Pictures, Illumination, The Jackal Group, Laurence Mark Productions, LuckyChap, Pascal Pictures, Red Wagon Entertainment, Revelations Entertainment, Rolling Pictures and Alex Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout.

The 20 production companies unveiled today join initiators  Blumhouse, Legendary, Charles D. King’s Macro and Berlanti Productions, who promised earlier this year to include health insurance contributions for producers in their budgets. PGA presidents Stephanie Allain and Donald De Line first announced the benefits expansion live onstage at the trade organization’s 36th annual Awards show on February 25.

Today they doubled down, in a good way.

“We received an overwhelming and supportive response to the Producers Guild Healthcare Initiative with a growing number of companies committing their pledge to support health insurance benefits for producers,” Allain and De Line told Deadline this morning. “We would like to acknowledge these 20 companies whose participation makes this essential benefit a reality. This is just the beginning as we continue to gather support from across the industry.”

On a very basic economic level, the PGA plan is to have companies or studios pledge a production budget line-item contribution on shows and movies of “at least $3.33/hour/producer for eligible full-time producers to be used towards the purchase of a health insurance plan.” In a perfect world, that contribution would go towards the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan for eligible producers. In the event that MPI coverage isn’t in the cards for particular producers, Plan B is for producers to have a line item in production budgets that would allow them to buy health insurance directly.

In all this, it is important to remember the PGA is not a union like the WGA, SAG-AFTRA and the DGA. Members of the nearly 75-year-old group lack any union, guild or other plan benefits, and do not participate in collective bargaining.

Which makes the benefits all the more essential in today’s market.

“As one of the first recipients of the PGA Health Care Initiative, I am incredibly grateful for the comprehensive health coverage it provides, ensuring that I can focus on my logistical and creative work without the burden of health-related worries,” production supervisor Mylan Dockery said Tuesday. Dockey worked on Blumhouse’s The Woman in the Yard and started receiving benefits this year.

“It is amazing. This initiative truly exemplifies the PGA’s commitment to supporting and uplifting all producers.”

As benefits once again prove a consequential part of IATSE, the Teamsters and other crafts current talks with the AMPTP, another member of the PGA put it in starker and stronger terms

“Our recently announced healthcare initiative is dedicated to creating a moral imperative for production companies, including studios and streamers, to support health benefits for eligible producers,” a well-place guild source says.

To put that in perspective, the PGA has approximently 8,400 members – many who still lack basic health insurance protection.


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