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Wanted to inform all my wonderful CSR colleagues, as I've seen many job posts this week from this agency, that there are jobs being offered through this site for flat rate reporting fees. What does that mean? You get paid one flat fee of ___ regardless of how many pages you report in 4 hours. There is nothing illegal in this state about compensating freelance reporters with flat rates, but I do not see any mention of the flat rate pay in the job offer posts, and I think reporters need to inquire before accepting these jobs. Do the math. Approximately 50 pages an hour times 4. Flat rate divided by that number is what you're getting per page if the depo goes 4 hours. They are WCAB depos, so probably would be less pages, but that is a risk you take by accepting these assignments.
There are a lot of underworked reporters right now. I think this agency is counting on it.
This is the same company I am referring to, Stops Enterprises, LLC, which also does business under the fictitious business name of Accutext Court Reporting Services, which is in Florida. Stops is registered in Delaware and is listed as a subidiary of One Call Medical. Wonder how much knowledge of reporting laws in California these entities have. My answer is: not much. Beware of turning your transcripts over to them directly. I am informed that one California agency providing reporter coverage for their WCAB flat rate jobs in California is Emerick & Finch, who I have seen posting on this site. Please ask and preferrably get in writing what you will be paid for these jobs.
The only way these companies make money is off the reporters as Stops adds another layer of profit into the reporting equation: Stops makes $$, agency makes $, reporter makes $. Instead of agency/reporter split, now you have a three-way split. Yet Stops or One Call Medical goes directly to parties to the action and tells them they will save money of they give them all their busines (aka contracting). You don't have to be a brain surgeon to figure out where the savings will come from. . . . reporters. While I do understand that work is scarce, it does amaze and sadden me how easily these jobs are being covered right now.
I totally agree that we have done this to ourselves, As a small firm owner, I have steadfastly refused to help the big boxes, like Esquire, Veritext..and we all know who they are. But I am shocked and dismayed when I find that's not the case across the firm owner board here locally. How on earth would the fox have gotten into our local henhouses if we didn't open the door for them by providing quality reporters to take work away from us at every corner.
Firm owner....every time you help a big box...don't be sad when they've taken your client from you and will sell 'em back to you for half the price. Karen...sadly I think men might have thought of some of the long term consequences of networking before cracking open that door.
Thank you for posting your position on covering the flat-rate work for STOPS in California - your post was very interesting and thoughtful. May I respectfully suggest you put FLAT RATE JOB in your job posts providing coverage for these STOP jobs? Reporters should be advised of this BEFORE they accept the job since it is a deviation from the customary method of per-page payment in our state.
All reporters are sickened by the big firms stepping in and making profit off the working reporters' back, but I must respectfully disagree with your decision to enable STOPS to cover these flat-rate jobs in California. DME-DIRECT is a member company of CHARTIS (owned by Chartis) - IMO, CHARTIS is now going to STOPS and using that entity to get around California laws and regulations for CSR impartiality. I don't see a difference between a big firm (agency) covering STOPS jobs or small firms (agency) - it's all BAD for the working reporter. Yes, CHARTIS will heartily support any legislative effort to allow digital recording for depositions in California, as will other large entities and organizations, including AAERT, but I fail to see how facilitating coverage of these low-pay flat rate jobs prevents that in any way.
An equal concern on my part is what is happening with the transcripts? Is Emerick doing production and distribution on this work? If not, then do you really think STOPS, a WCAB transportation company, knows California law regarding handling and distribution of transcripts? STOPS accepted this CHARTIS work for one reason: profit, and I have NO problem with that. STOPS doesn't care one iota for the working reporter, CHARTIS is a subsidiary of AIG - a gigantic entity driven by profit. STOPS called several agencies in California because they need an agency to cover this flat rate work. Many agencies refused. Yours accepted. And reporters are taking these flat-rate jobs every day now in California. The barn door has been opened. My goal is not to close the barn door - I'm way too smart to believe I can do that My goal is to make sure working reporters have the background and information they need to decide whether they will accept these flat-rate jobs and perhaps give then my thoughts as to its effect going forward on reporter compensation. Thank you, Kelly.