MPTF Caregivers Slam Bob Beitcher's $800K Compensation as Strike Looms

MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher says he has the same benefits that he's asking hospital workers to accept

With a caregivers strike looming at the Motion Picture and Television Fund's long-term care center and hospital, the union representing the workers is hitting back at the six-figure salaries drawn by the non-profit's top management.

A spokesman for the Service Employees International Union, United Healthcare Workers West began circulating public filings to media outlets on Thursday that showed that MPTF CEO Bob Beitcher (pictured left) made $775,998 in salary, bonuses and benefits in 2011.

The top 10 highest paid employees at the MPTF drew more than $4 million in compensation, according to the records.

Also read: MPTF CEO Hits Back at Unsafe Staffing-Level Claims After Caregivers OK Strike Authorization

The union argues that the salaries are "disheartening," as they come at a time when the MPTF is trying to raise health-care premiums and institute a freeze in retirement contributions for nurse aides, licensed vocational nurses, medical records workers and other support staff.

Also read: It's Time to Pay Back Our Debt to the MPTF Caregivers

"They had a lot of hope when new management came in, but seeing numbers like this when the MPTF management is telling caregivers that they have to put their livelihoods at risk is disheartening," Jarard Kings, a spokesperson for the SEIU-UHW, told TheWrap. "On the eve of this unfair labor practice strike, someone should ask MPTF management how they have the audacity to continue to bargain in bad faith."

The proposed changes would come as part of a new three-year contract, but talks broke off last week after discussions reached an impasse. A three-day strike is scheduled to happen on Monday.

Beitcher did not dispute the salary figures enumerated in the filings when reached by TheWrap for comment but said that what he earns has no bearing on what the MPTF is asking the roughly 500 unionized employees to accept as a contract.

"Do they mean that I should get paid what they get paid?" Beitcher asked. "I'm getting 50 percent of what I made in my last job. If they'd like to return to work for the fund and make 50 percent of what they’re making now, they can do that, too.

"My retirement program is the exact same program I'm asking them to take, and my health-care benefits are the exact same as the ones that I'm asking them to take. No one in the company is getting a better health-care plan or retirement plan than the one I'm asking them to accept," he added.

Beitcher implied that the new contract terms were a matter of fairness. He said that non-unionized employees at the MPTF saw a freeze in retirement contributions in July 2011 and had their health-care premiums increase in January 2013. Throughout the talks, the MPTF has said that the cuts in pension and benefits are necessary to keep the hospital and long-term care center on stable financial footing.

Beitcher was formerly president and chief executive officer of Panavision, where he told TheWrap he earned $1.5 million in fixed compensation. He said he has not had any raises during his three years in charge of the non-profit.

Whether the SEIU-UHW's point is valid, the filings do reveal key details about the compensation packages for many top staffers at the MPTF, as well as the organization's generous severance packages. 

For instance, Dr. David Tillman, who resigned as president and CEO of the MPTF in 2010 as controversy swirled around a plan to shut down the hospital, drew $591,052 in severance compensation. He received $60,571 in additional severance benefits that were paid out in 2012, according to the filing.

The plan to close the hospital was eventually abandoned, however, and the financial compensation for another of its chief architects, Seth Ellis, was also laid out in the filings. Ellis, the former vice president and chief operating officer at the MPTF, earned $385,372 in total compensation in 2011. He resigned from the MPTF in July 2012.

Among other top salaries: MPTF Foundation CEO Ken Scherer earned $561,975 in total compensation in 2011, while the MPTF's Chief Financial Officer Frank Guarrera earned $581,023.