Viacom (VIAB) Freelancers To Protest Benefit Cuts

Viacom’s large freelance contingent are justifiably angry about the company’s decision to whack away at their benefits. The bravest among them are planning a “walkout” today at 3pm in front of the company’s 1515 Broadway building in Times Square.

But we also think that Viacom brass may be able to calm the waters with some straightforward and candid talk, which we gather hasn’t been forthcoming so far. Why is the company making the cuts? What do the cuts mean about the company’s overall health and strategy? Our understanding is that to date the only communication has been via group presentations from the HR staff, which doesn’t seem to have cleared anything up…

For instance, one employee tells/asks us, “we were told in our HR meeting that our 401Ks are stopping, but we can’t roll them over or withdraw. So our money is stuck there. Question – why won’t they let us withdraw our 401Ks?”

If true, that’s a good question. We’ve got no idea. But in the interest of peacemaking between labour and capital, we can address two other questions/rumours we heard over the weekend, both of which are supposed to be connected to the cuts.
• Viacom boss Sumner Redstone had a bout with prostate cancer years ago, but says it’s in remission and that he’s in good health. We saw him speak at the Dow Jones media conference a few weeks ago, and he’s not spry, but he seemed OK to us.
• MTV CFO Colete Chestnut left the company at the end of November. It’s not well-publicised, but it’s not a secret.

Anything else we can answer? Leave a comment below, or drop us an email at [email protected]

Followup: LIVE From Times Square: Viacom Walkout!

Related: Viacom Cutting Back On Freelance Benefits

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