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I've been offered an arbitration which would be nine days in April and May, with three hookups. The problem is, one, this agency takes a LONG time to pay, and two, they want me to charge for one hookup, although there are three hookups, because, "Our clients have special rates." They haven't mentioned copy sales.
Now, if the three hookups are all for the same law firm, that's one thing. If they are for different sides, I don't think this is right. Also, I'm told that the arbitration is actually running for four weeks straight but another reporter will be taking the bulk of it because the client requested her. So I would be the fill-in guy for when the preferred star reporter can't make it. Still, it could be good money. So I'm in a quandary. I could see myself sitting here broke, waiting six weeks to get paid, while my bills go unpaid.
What would you do?
3 hookups/get paid for 1, that's quite interesting. So you'd get zero return on your investment for buying, setting up, and troubleshooting two hookups. I don't care same law firm. Two of them want to read along and not pay. I'd say no. That's completely unreasonable. If they want to read along, they can look over their colleague's shoulder. Want to read your own screen. Then there's a charge.
I'm sure you don't mean that being paid in 6 weeks would cause you to go broke. You probably meant to say that if you didn't work for 6 weeks that you'd be broke.
Unfortunately, I am living paycheck to paycheck because there just isn't enough decent work. For example, last week I worked one hour on Monday, and then Wednesday and Thursday were half days, and that was my week. This is not a living. To be beholden to one agency which will owe me substantial money, and not be able to put my hands on it, will be an extreme hardship. Back when we had the Federation in NY, reporters were paid every two weeks on work turned in. Then you could have a life. Not now.
Yes, you had a horrible week last week. But surely you've had a decent or maybe great week in the last few weeks and your receivables will keep you going. It would be silly to decline work based on 6-week payment. It would be smart, however, to decline work from an agency who expects the CR to give away services. 3 laptops or tablets, whatever you're using for IA RT, buy and shlep them, set them up, troubleshoot connection issues, and only get paid for 1, GMAFB. No way I'd agree to that. They've got some nerve asking.
Have you considered doing a pro temp day in court?
might be a quick few dollars that would see you through to your next paycheck.
so cal official
I agree with you about the hookups. I was doing a job in Belgium and this whippersnapper New York lawyer didn't think I was working fast enough (I was having trouble hooking up that day) and so he decided to "help" me. His help delayed us for a while, and it took a techie from that local firm to just get my computer running again. Once we started, we had no realtime hookups (and darn if I hadn't memorized at least 20 briefs to make this a happenin' thing) so I knew I was losing all that money. So what does the attorney do? He stands behind me and reads over my shoulder for the entire day, and the other attorney would lean over also, to glance at what was going on.
I told my agency, and they were sympathetic, and I said, but he DID have realtime, he was breathing all over me, and they said, sorry, it's still not realtime...
Yeah, no, that's realtime. I would have emailed the agency first break and asked if they consider that RT (must be email--must be in writing). No? I would pull up another screen so the attorneys could not see the feed on my computer. This is another example of an agency denying services when reporter doesn't make crystal clear, in writing, prior to providing service (in this case, at least from first break on). I'm sorry they did this to you, and I hope that never happens again.
I am so tired of agencies providing our 'services' for free.
we worked really hard to perfect those skills, and we should
be paid for them!!
so cal official
Wow. I hate it when agencies ask you to take less because they have some special deal. To me the stress of hookups alone are enough to put me off if I'm not getting paid. The long pay thing would trouble me, too. When I was an overseas reporter, I was promised pay every 30 days, and they didn't jerk me around. Here's the thing. I write speeches for an Irish arbitrator, and all of his magazine articles, I ghost for him. So I know about arbitration, and the FACT is that EVERYTHING (including the arbitrators) are paid up front, equal on both sides. So they have already gotten a clue of what it's going to cost AND HAVE BEEN PAID.
Can you ask the agency, knowing that they will most likely be paid in advance, to pay you at the end of each week, or two weeks?
I have no problem with the secondary reporter role. Sometimes you make connections and impressions where people will ask for you again, and I say let the stars shine where they shine best, but on the pay, it shouldn't be considered rude for you to just ask about payment arrangements prior to accepting.
Not a guru, but I hope that helps. Carm
I agree! Why is it that reporters are so hesitant about asking how much they will be paid on a job?
We're not in this industry to help society, we are here to earn a living, and like other
contractors do, you ask (or tell) what the pay is going to be BEFORE you begin the job.
I don't have a problem with the 6 weeks to get paid. That's actually pretty good. I would definitely say no to only being paid for 1 of 3 realtime hookups. Reporters have to say no to this type of work or firms will continue to expect to pay us less. Value your work! Arbitrations also have per diem charges and a much higher page rate than depo work so be sure they're not trying to pay you less there too. The parties usually split the bill so make sure you're getting an O&2 (or more) split and not an O&1.
You say it could be good money. We are business people and should act as such. You should know before you accept any job what they will pay you and when and get it in writing.
If you don't already have one, make up a rate sheet for what you expect to be paid by a CR firm for different types of work. Reporter rates, not firm rates. You can always negotiate between what their rates are and what yours are.
Fantastic response, Kelli!!
I wish you could write a dissertation on reporters and the money that
they should be making!!!
I probably worded that poorly, but the new
reporters need to know about these sorts of
things and not be hoodwinked by agencies!!!