Hollywood Union IATSE Averts Strike in Tentative Agreement With Studios Leave a comment


  • Hollywood’s crew members’ union reached a tentative deal with the studios late Saturday.
  • The deal secured many IATSE demands, including longer rest periods and higher wages.
  • Terms of the deal need to be ratified by IATSE members before Sunday to avoid a strike on Monday.

Negotiators for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) settled on a deal on Saturday to avert a potential industry-crippling workers’ strike.

“Everything achieved was because you, the members, stood up and gave us the power to change the course of these negotiations,” leaders of Hollywood’s 13 local unions said in a statement to their members. “Our solidarity, at both the leadership and rank and file level, was the primary reason that no local was left behind and every priority was addressed.”

“This is a Hollywood ending,” said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb. “Our members stood firm. They’re tough and united.”

The proposed three-year contract, which would affect 40,000 union members, included the following:

• Living wage achieved
• Improved wages and working conditions for streaming
• Retroactive scale wage increases of 3% annually
• Employer-funded benefits for the term
• Increased meal period penalties including prevailing rate
• Daily reest periods of 10 hours without exclusions
• Weekend rest periods of 54 and 32 hours
• Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday as a holiday
• Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives

The individual locals will be updating members on more specifics in the coming days, IATSE added.

The unions entered 11th-hour virtual marathon meetings late on Friday, according to Variety, with AMPTP President Carol Lombardini addressing details surrounding problematic working conditions in the industry. Lombardini and Loeb came to an agreement on multiple fronts, understanding the repercussions a crew member strike would have on the industry as it recovers from COVID-19 shutdowns.

Industry sources also told Variety that Walt Disney Television chief Peter Rice was among those present at the meeting who helped bridge the gap between the two parties.

IATSE union members have pushed for longer rest breaks as well as higher wages for lower-paid crafts, after multiple accounts of dangerous working conditions spread via social media, sparking support from the industry’s actors, directors, and writers, among others.

Saturday’s agreement was met with cautious optimism from the industry and IATSE union members, with many praising the efforts of the union over the past weeks, and others saying they expected more from the negotiations.

“Just confirmed with an IATSE member that they received an email from their Local that a deal has been made!” wrote #PayUpHollywood co-founder Liz Hsiao Lan Alper in a tweet. “IATSE members, I hope like hell you [got] much of what you deserve.”

“I’m excited if IATSE members are excited,” actress Yvette Nicole Brown tweeted. “This is their new contract potentially. They get to decide if what’s being offered is what they need to feel safe, well-paid and respected.”

“Good for IATSE for standing your ground,” tweeted actor Patton Oswalt. “And don’t forget we got your back anytime you need us #IASolidarity.”

“I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about it, to be honest,” Matt Schouten, a digital imaging technician in IATSE’s local 600, told Insider. “At least preliminarily, some of the things that they’re mentioning — it seems pretty basic. I think a lot of members were expecting to get more out of the negotiation … I know already there’s a few people that have expressed concern, but it’s good to see that they’re making progress.”

 

Capturing some of that concern was a tweet from Franklin Leonard, the founder of the Black List and a prominent voice for equity in Hollywood. After tweeting about the deal, he added, “Fascinating that leadership is hanging a mission accomplished banner and so many members have jumped in my mentions to assert that they are not a fan of this deal. Genuinely curious how representative of the rank and file they are.”

Many comments on the @IA_stories Instagram account, where crew members have shared tales of difficult working conditions, were skeptical or critical of the agreement outlined Saturday night.

Ninety-eight percent of IATSE members voted to authorize a strike in October. The IATSE and AMPTP resumed bargaining negotiations last week after the Loeb announced the former would go on strike unless the parties could reach a deal by the weekend. Negotiations have gone on since July, with the threat of an impending strike hanging overhead.





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