Bargaining agreement heads to membership vote for ratification
Amid the looming and fast approaching deadline, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) has reached a tentative deal with Hollywood’s studios on a new collective bargaining agreement, according to multiple reports.
Reps for the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) and IATSE did not immediately respond for comment.Deadline was first to report on the agreement. Earlier on Saturday, multiple individuals with knowledge of the discussions said there had been a lot of progress over the last 24 hours in the talks and expressed optimism that a deal was in reach.
The new agreement covers the next three years. This averts the first below-the-line workers strike in Hollywood history. It now goes to the union’s locals for ratification, which could take weeks or months (but a strike would be avoided). Thirteen West Coast locals will vote to ratify the Hollywood Basic Agreement while 23 other locals will vote on the Area Standards Agreement, which covers shoots outside of Los Angeles and New York.
The deal comes after more than 60,000 IATSE members were days away from going on strike, which would have led to one of the biggest work stoppages in Hollywood history.
IATSE had set a deadline of Monday, Oct. 18, at 12:01 a.m. PT to reach a deal and members have been ready to picket studios starting Monday. A potential strike would come as the industry is still recovering from the months-long COVID-19 shutdown.
IATSE leadership has laid out four main areas of concern it wants addressed as part of any new deal: Excessively unsafe and harmful working hours, unlivable wages for the lowest-paid crafts, consistent failure to provide reasonable rest during meal breaks, between workdays, and on weekends, workers on certain “new media” streaming projects get paid less, even on productions with budgets that rival or exceed those of traditionally released blockbusters.
Broken down a bit more specifically, IATSE was seeking a hard limit on shooting hours to avoid 14-hour shoot days that can lead to exhaustion. They also want increased contributions to the union’s health and pension plan. But perhaps the biggest issue — one that all of Hollywood labor is facing — is increased wages and compensation for workers at a time when the streaming boom has caused rapid growth in production demand and profits.
The AMPTP has said it addressed the union’s demands with a proposal that included increases of 10-19% in minimum wages for 871 members, an average of 18% increase in minimums for certain new media productions, and covering the $400 million deficit in the IATSE Health Plan without raising premiums and other healthcare costs like deductibles and co-pays for dependents.
Now it appears both sides have bridged the gap far enough to keep the cameras rolling.
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