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‘Hollywood ending’: IATSE reaches deal to avert strike

The following is from IATSE:

LOS ANGELES (Oct. 18, 2021) — A nationwide strike that would have started Monday was averted on Saturday when the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) reached a tentative three-year agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) for The Basic and Videotape Agreements which affects 40,000 film and television workers represented by 13 West Coast IATSE local unions.

The proposed contract addresses core issues, including reasonable rest periods; meal breaks; a living wage for those on the bottom of the pay scale; and significant increases in compensation to be paid by new-media companies.

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

IATSE union members were prepared to withhold their labor and go on strike until issues related to the quality of their lives were addressed, he said.

“We went toe to toe with some of the richest and most powerful entertainment and tech companies in the world, and we have now reached an agreement with the AMPTP that meets our members’ needs.”

The AMPTP is a trade association that represents major employers and producers of television and film including Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Apple, Netflix, and Amazon, among others.

The tentative agreement, which still must be ratified by IATSE members, includes:

Many film and television workers had lamented how the workweek commonly ran into the weekend as Fridays and Saturdays became one long workday or a “Fraturday.” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, in remarks to the National Press Club in Washington earlier this week, said that IATSE members were “fighting for the weekend.” Under the terms of the new agreement  film and television workers would now have a minimum of rest over the weekend.

  • Achievement of a living wage for the lowest-paid earners
  • Improved wages and working conditions for streaming
  • Retroactive wage Increases of 3 percent annually
  • Increased meal period penalties
  • Daily rest periods of 10 hours without exclusions
  • Weekend rest periods of 54 hours
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday Holiday added to schedule
  • Adoption of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives

IATSE members will be briefed by their local leaders on full details and language of the tentative agreement early this week. A ratification vote will be held with members casting ballots online using a similar process that was used to conduct the recent strike authorization vote.

“Our members will see significant improvements, but our employers also will benefit,” said Mike Miller Vice President and Motion Picture Director for IATSE. “This settlement allows pre-production, production and post-production to continue without interruption. Workers should have improved morale andbe more alert. Health and safety standards have been upgraded.”

This agreement, and the contract campaign before it, should serve as a model for other workers in the entertainment and tech industries, for workers employed by gaming companies, and for so-called “gig workers,” explained Loeb. “We’re the original gig workers.”

“Like non-union, freelance workers, many of our highly-skilled members go to work at different times, for different employers, at different locations,” Loeb said. “The difference is, our people have healthcare and retirement benefits, can negotiate for better wages and conditions, and have a voice and power because they work together through their union.”

“Solidarity is more than a word,” Loeb added.  “It’s the way to get things done.”

IATSE is a labor union representing over 150,000 technicians, artisans and craftspersons in the entertainment industry, including live theatre, motion picture and television production, broadcast, and trade shows in the United States and Canada.

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