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Marianne Paskowski

MTV Freelancers Win Back Benefits

December 14, 2007 12:27 PM

The New York Times reports that hundreds of freelance workers for MTV Networks won back, from corporate, some of the cuts Viacom said it would slash.

I’m happy for them. But how many companies pay benefits to freelance workers or independent contractors to begin with? Not many, is the answer. So forgive me, if I’m not exuding my usual soppy Norma Rae persona about this news.

Why? That’s because the freelance workers are still demonstrating, asking for more. Get real, I say. The freelancers got healthcare plans and now they’re pushing the envelope, seeking pay for time off from work, tuition reimbursement and company matching for 401(k) plans.

I think MTV has been more than fair here, even promising to convert some of those part time positions to full time jobs.

Am I being a Grinch?


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Comments (8)

AsI understand it, this isn't a Scrooge vs. Cratchett question. This is already answered by the I.R.S.

There's plenty of precedent for companies being fined for using "permanent freelancers" -- i.e., "casual employees" perform all the services of a full-timer year-round for 40 or more hours per week. Such workers are entitled to full benefits, and I know of a couple of station groups who paid a big penalty for not providing them.

Freelancers who work less than 40 hours per week, again as I understand it, are out of luck. Does anyone here know anything different?

Marianne Paskowski:


This all stems from the workers' lawsuit against Microsoft from NOT giving them benefits, even though they were in essence full time employees.

I can't tell you how bad the problem still is, but it's basically about employees working on the premises and treated like independent contractors.

Viacom is trying to address this. Other programmers hide their free lancers working on the presence, you would be shocked, big successful companies. My friends work at those joints and they have no benefits.

A lot of it deals with worker's comp, like a freelancer working on the premises falling down the elevator shaft.

Anyhow, let's hear from the HR crowd. And Arthur, thanks for your holiday card and the great card from Al Gore.

So that's all I know,

A Dog Named Einstein:

There are two things to pull out of this topic:

1 - "But how many companies pay benefits to freelance workers or independent contractors to begin with? Not many, is the answer." - Couldn't agree with you more. Contracted employees are treated like leapers, actually a leaper would have more seniority if they were on the inside. Seriously they (contracted employees) do the same amount of work as "Joe employee" without any of the perks.

Overall though, I rather have a job freelanced, contracted, ETC... in this country then outsourced overseas, and some companies feel this way as well. (for example Dell has recently brought back some jobs back home)

(but the more important point point to consider...)

2. & most important - (in my Seinfeld voice) "What is MTV and where are these Music Videos?"

...... Oh wait I'm a dog and I can't do the Seinfeld bit. :)


Marianne Paskowski:

Here's a thought that will freak you out. The United States, thanks to George Bush, economically is now considered an "emerging nation," lagging behind the Yen and Euro. I think that blows big time.

Thanks for the post,

Stuck in a Snowglobe:

^ It's sad with how low the American dollar has fallen, and now pop culture is trying to "cash in" on that. Rapper Jay-Z (Mr I'll do anything for attention) recently pulled a publicity stunt where he threw around a bunch or Euros in the air while poking fun at the dollar during a concert. Then again he didn't mind saving his American couch change to buy the New Jersey Nets. This also coming from a man who wrote a hit song called, "Dead Presidents" which has taken on a whole new meaning since American money is "Dead" to him...


Steph Robinson:

All of this just shows that we need to fix our own country's problems first instead of worring about oil.

Marianne Paskowski:

Stuck & Steph,

First to you Stuck, thanks for reminding us about that total jerk. And to Steph, our country's problems, at least one of them is oil. There's very little oil production in Oklahoma and the pipelines are slowing down in Texas.

If you watch CNBC, a great network, the world is a global economic arena and we are not the world's largest consumers of products and services.

Actually saw something that will freak out Chi, in a good way. China is hiring US workers, yes here, to keep up with demand for the roaring Tiger.

Who knew?


Dear Marianne,

You are not a grinch.

Just the opposite of that.

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