Support staff benefits back


A dust-up over lost medical benefits for noncontract employees of Innovative Artists Agency appears to be ending as quickly as it kicked up.

Dozens of office administrative and support staffers were advised in a letter dated Friday and retroactive to June 1 that they no longer would be extended such benefits because of rising costs. The employees initially considered a job action but instead wrote a letter to Innovative principal Scott Harris and department heads in Santa Monica and New York stating their case for having the benefits restored.

"We came in to work today anticipating a response or explanation for the loss of our benefits," the employees said in the letter, delivered Monday night. "But we feel that we have been denied a fair voice in this matter, having only learned of the loss of our benefits after your decision was made and while you were out of town."

The employees went on to underscore an economic need to have medical coverage restored and the urgency of their predicament. And it appears the plea found a receptive audience.

On Tuesday morning, Harris gathered employees for a company meeting in which he announced that benefits would be restored, according to one of the affected employees, who requested anonymity.

Harris, who was traveling Tuesday and held the meeting via conference call, wasn't immediately available for comment.