Thread regarding ViacomCBS layoffs

Project Based Employees

After experiencing a merger + pandemic you’d think ViacomCBS would at least pretend to give a damn about the well-being of their employees... instead they continue to take advantage of “project-based” employees that have dedicated their lives for years to a company that continues to refuse to give them basic health benefits. It’s upsetting to say the least. What happens if I get sick? What happens if I use my whoppin’ 5 paid sick days??? We deserve better and we should stand up for what is right whether we’re staff or permalance...

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Post ID: @OP+1a2ArNJo

18 replies (most recent on top)

@3ffm+1a2ArNJo what you are describing is ACTUAL PBE or freelance. that's not what the majority of positions classified as PBE, freelance, cast and crew, ect are within this company. you are basically a full time time perma lancer. the "project" never ends, you perform the functions of F/T staff without the F/T staff benefits. they also pull the trick with it being classified as "temp", well for as as long as you work there, i mean some are actually temp but are kinda rare. often they will inform you, position is not actually a temp, put in cast/crew/PBE ect bucket.

so yeah, when I did 5 years freelance film/TV production, I had a rate card. of course I never was loyal to one company, big or small. if I did work longer for more than few months, duties changed, I submitted a rate increase. I was a vendor basically when it came to bigger companies, actual contract signed. when it expired, and they wanted me to stay on for another stint, i would raise rate based on what extra work they were asking of me. most gigs never lasted more than few months MAX. I never was able to get into the NY unions, was dam near impossible at the time,had to have an in, I did not have one. so I was hustling my own gigs on mostly union exempt or non union gigs.

what you are describing in post, is true and good advice for TRUE freelance or PBE. unfortunately, that's not what goes on for majority of viacomcbs.

i am curious though for those on this thread, I know first hand Viacom was notorious for this practice, but for CBS PBE employees, was it like that there as well? Or did it only start occurring since merger?

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Post ID: @4vbz+1a2ArNJo

First, as a PBE, you should diversify your work. Working for one company gives the power to that company. Don’t do it. ViacomCBS is a c-appy company that is run by people that are just throwing darts to see what works. Why devote all your energy to a company like them. Work for them from time to time, but mix it up. I’d argue if you do so, you will be in a much more stable position than a full time job with them.

If you are complaining that ViacomCBS doesn’t pay your insurance, raise your rates to compensate the difference.

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Post ID: @3ffm+1a2ArNJo

Yeeaaahh I’m not quite sure where you heard they get 14 PTO days. They don’t even get bereavement. I would know because when my family member died, I was told to use my 5 sick days...

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Post ID: @1rzm+1a2ArNJo

At the troll guy, do you believe truly that viacomcbs is a meritocracy?

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Post ID: @1pxh+1a2ArNJo

lol @ the person saying being freelance is a blessing when they cut like 50% of freelancers last year and have no healthcare during a pandemic and no, they do not get 14 days off, they get a big 0 besides the state mandated 5 sick days. Can't even get a f—ing paramount+ subscription lol.

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Post ID: @1tpa+1a2ArNJo

What it comes down to is this guy believes you have to be "worthy" to get healthcare, which is a super cool and ethical thing to think about other human beings.

Nobody who works full time for any company in the exact same capacity as "staffers" should be treated any differently than those "staffers" and that's just a fact, and if you believe differently it's because you're a callous bootlicker who thinks they're one of the chosen few who deserve what they've got, when in reality you just happen to be lucky and those same people you believe you're in with will spit you right the f— out just like they do everyone else.

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Post ID: @1eji+1a2ArNJo

To those wondering if I’m trolling I’m not. I’m just telling the truth. Is it fluffy and nice? Nope. It’s just the facts. Facts you stated. People were given a choice. They chose ViacomCBS because nobody else would choose them. Now they are mad at Viacom. You may have wanted to work in TV but companies didn’t see it that way. I wanted to play short stop for the Yankees. The Yankees didn’t agree. But Viacom did hire me. That’s life. Stop complaining

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Post ID: @1tzj+1a2ArNJo

Proskauer still very active in seeking employees & former cbs employees to come forward about Peter Dunn, David friend & other management & work culture issues, bokked well into April as of right now

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Post ID: @1tpt+1a2ArNJo

ugh, whoever is either trolling or genuinely believes that folks in PBE/perma lancer situations not just with Viacomcbs, but with other companies as well, are sub par, unworthy of full time staff, lazy to not seek staff positions with other companies. simply does not understand the complexity of this development over past 20 plus years.

if you truly understood the situation. which, i believe you do not, by any stretch of imagination, you would not be so blunt in posts. every hear of a thing called nuance? yikes, if you were someone who wanted to understand the situation, you would not be so dismissive and downright insulting to people. I was never in the perma lancer situation, yet I can empathize with them as I have watched it go on and grow exponentially over the years. as a matter of fact, I know several folks who were given choice, go from full time staff to cast/crew/perma lancer/PBE or there is door. they had 15 years in, considered exceptional employees. so your thesis that if you are cast/crew/perma lancer/PBE, you are not worthy is utter nonsense. One director, an VP level friends of mine, told me how it awful these meeting were in determining whom to slam into that status or keep them there. it is a systematic way of manipulating numbers. it is not a social/work darwinistic situation.

just to prove I have an open mind here, I would agree with some of points being brought up by, this seems like one person, but if not to others as well,in some other situations that were more clear cut. this is NOT a clear cut situation. reading posts, I can tell opinion is obviously coming from a political ideology perspective, not a business strategy, ethical or otherwise.

I often wonder, especially on quasi anonymous site like this, do people really believe these things, or do they truly lack any empathy, nuance at all. good luck to you as well, even though being jerk about it. I hope you never are forced to deal with this situation, if you don't think it can happen to you at some juncture in career, you are sorely mistaken.

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Post ID: @1xue+1a2ArNJo

I thought part timers/permalancers still had 14 days off? At least long time employees? They don’t get medical but seem to get everything else? Ad sales are down, in my mind they’d be the easiest to lay off, no severance, no obligations. Yet still here over full time employees. Even part timers actually working in ad sales. Seems like a blessing during these time.

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Post ID: @1rqj+1a2ArNJo

So let me get this straight. You’re mad at Viacom for keeping you employed and giving a paycheck but not EVERY other company that wouldn’t hire during the greatest job market in our history during the lowest unemployment. Nobody would hire these project based workers. That is a simple fact you can’t escape. Not a single company. If anyone would hire them and give them the benefits they wanted they would leave. These are facts. Facts override feelings ever single time.

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Post ID: @1dwf+1a2ArNJo

@vpu+1a2ArNJo You sound like someone who hasn’t actually applied for a job in the last decade. Clearly not everyone’s situation is identical to yours, yet instead of even attempting to acknowledge that your initial reaction is to place blame on the employees who are being taken advantage of. ViacomCBS has more than enough money to ensure their employees have health coverage especially during a global pandemic. You’re severely lacking empathy and understanding. It should go without saying you’re a part of the problem. I truly hope one day you’re able to recognize that.

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Post ID: @1xhz+1a2ArNJo

3+ years? I’m missing the part where they were forced to work for Viacom. You are including the years America had the GREATEST job market in the history of our nation. Unemployment at record low yet these people CHOOSE to work for Viacom even though the company felt they weren’t worthy of full time employment. Now they complain they aren’t getting everything they want. Though we may not have many left we do have some freedoms. They are free to make better decisions for themselves. Nobody owes you anything.

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Post ID: @vpu+1a2ArNJo

@hyx+1a2ArNJo You’re ignoring the fact that these “project-based” employees have worked at the company for 3+ years doing the exact same job as staff members. They aren’t tied to a lone project. This is ViacomCBS taking advantage of a loophole to avoid paying out for benefits. Period. It has nothing to do with the quality of workers. People like you are why systems like this continue to remain in place. What a disgusting and shameful take.

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Post ID: @kkt+1a2ArNJo

Project based is just that; project based. The company doesn’t owe you ANYTHING just like you don’t owe the company. If they wanted to hire you they would. If you are worthy someone else will hire you. Complaining just makes you look petty. If nobody is willing to hire you that sounds like a you problem.

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Post ID: @hyx+1a2ArNJo

Really, @ibq+1a2ArNJo?? “Ad revenue is waaaaaaay down”??? Exactly how much do you think they spent on John Kransinkski’s Some Good News post pandemic, eh? Spare me, Boot Licker... imagine the world it could be if people like you cared about workers having enough to survive instead of the filthy rich CEOs

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Post ID: @ovy+1a2ArNJo

there was 2, I think 2 walk out outs at 1515 that garnered media attention in 2007 in regards to this. the negative press, a lot of outside pressure from different organizations lead to concessions to the Viacom perma-lancer system. that coupled with intern lawsuit that went on for years, ultimately leading to 2015 settlement. that intern system was crazy, people classified as interns for years, dangling a staff position as bait, if they just stayed on as intern for a little while longer. I first heard of shady intern/ perma lancer reputation with Viacom going back to at least 1998. I can't speak to how CBS handled full time PBE, but Viacom was notorious in NYC with these practices for very long time. I turned down a Viacom based internship in 97-98 time frame, the way they presented it was so sketchy. ended up working for them about 5 years later, for a very long run. some of the folks I knew who did take the internships at that time, were transitioned to PBE, or perma lancer situation after being an intern for way too long. It is not just Viacom in this business doing this, to be fair, may of the big media conglomerates engage in similar practices for a very long time. Its just Viacom, had one of, if not worst reputation in regards to this matter. unfortunately, in this field, the trend is to hire more and more temp/pbe, ect. just as small example of whats been going on due to merger/covid layoffs, a number of positions that were eliminated in my corner of this massive media conglomerate is this: layoff huge swaths of sub division/teams, FT staff mid to long term employees, wait until the economic layoff timeframe requirements has passed, then rehire the positions as temp/pbe, cast crew ect on FT basis. they have consistently done this on VIACOM side for a long time, its just being ramped up big time now. the work was still there, simply did not want to have FT staff benefits overhead, NOT just medical insurance, as stated above but overall full staff benefits. that and non staff employees not prone to making waves, hoping for a transition to full staff status. it is a trend that will continue as all the mergers keep consolidating, unfortunately. as always, good luck to all if decide to continue in this field. I have over 20 Plus in, not sure I want to continue with current state of affairs in business. we shall see.

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Post ID: @agq+1a2ArNJo

Blame Obamacare. It made it much more expensive to keep part timers as premiums skyrocketed and made no requirement for part-timers. Ad revenue is waaaaaaay down because of COVID. Take a lesson from Jack Welch. You do two weeks of work and you get paid for two weeks of work, and both you and the company are free to walk away even steven.

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Post ID: @ibq+1a2ArNJo

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