“Solidarity” cited in New Deal for 40,000 behind-the-scenes film and television workers


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Union solidarity was credited on Saturday for a three-year deal between the International Alliance of Theatrical Employees and the Alliance of Film and Television Producers, avoiding a midnight strike that would have ended film production and television.

“It’s a Hollywood ending,” IATSE International President Matthew Loeb said in a statement. “Our members held on. They are tough and united. … Solidarity is more than a word; that’s the way to get things done.

Basic agreements and videotape agreements address fundamental issues, including reasonable rest periods, meal breaks, living wages for those at the bottom of the pay scale, and significant pay increases. payable by new media companies.

“This deal, and the contract campaign that preceded it, should serve as a model for other workers in the entertainment and tech industries, for workers employed by game companies, and for so-called ‘workers on scene “…” We are the first workers on site, “Loeb said.

“Like the non-union self-employed, many of our highly skilled members will be working at different times, for different employers, in different locations,” Loeb said. “The difference is that our people have health care and pension benefits, can negotiate better wages and conditions, and have a voice and power because they work together through their union. “

The contract has yet to be ratified by union members, but it appears that the first nationwide strike since the union’s founding 128 years ago has been called off. The contract affects some 40,000 ‘below the line’ film and television workers represented by 13 local West Coast IATSE unions, including cameramen, production and department coordinators, editorial assistants. , directors of photography, costume designers, sound technicians and makeup artists, among others. . They will be briefed by local leaders on all the details and language of the tentative agreement at the start of the week.

However, negotiations are still ongoing for workers under the similar regional standards agreement and are owned by local IATSE unions in major production centers such as New Mexico, New York, the Illinois, Georgia and Louisiana.

“Our members will see significant improvements, but so will our employers,” said Mike Miller, IATSE vice president. “This regulation allows pre-production, production and post-production to continue uninterrupted. Workers should have improved their morale and be more alert. Health and safety standards have been improved.

The deal also calls for improved wages and working conditions for streaming, retroactive pay increases of 3% per year, tougher meal period penalties, 10-hour daily rest periods without exclusion, rest periods weekends, the inclusion of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday vacation, and the adoption of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler told the National Press Club that IATSE members “are fighting for the weekend.”

Shortly after the deal was announced, congratulations were offered by a union of actors.

“SAG-AFTRA congratulates the members of the International Alliance of Theater Employees for reaching a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Film and Television Producers,” the union said in a statement.

“We are happy and relieved that both sides were able to come to an agreement and a strike was avoided, but there was always more at stake here than an industry shutdown,” Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said , National Executive Director of SAG-AFTRA. “All workers deserve safe working conditions and fair wages, and this result once again demonstrates the power of unity. We are proud of what our union colleagues have accomplished.

Loeb described members of the IATSE union as “the workhorses of the television and film industry”, and said they were ready to suspend their work and strike until issues related to them. to the quality of their lives are resolved. “We have gone up against some of the richest and most powerful entertainment and tech companies in the world, and we now have a deal with AMPTP that meets the needs of our members. “

AMPTP is a trade association representing employers and producers of television and film, and includes Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Apple, Netflix, and Amazon, among others.

IATSE announced that it had almost unanimous support from its own members, but also received broad support from actors, directors and other members of the entertainment community. In addition, 120 members of Congress signed a letter, and state government leaders in California, New York and other production centers have also responded. The union also received the support of the AFL-CIO and that of the labor movement at large.

The union set a strike deadline on Wednesday, pressuring producers to strike a deal and avoid a mass production shutdown that could cripple an entertainment industry already struggling to recover from the pandemic of COVID-19.

While IATSE President Matthew Loeb said earlier this week that discussions were underway with the Alliance of Film and Television Producers, he added that “the pace of the negotiations does not reflect any sentiment of ‘urgency’ – the reason the union set Monday’s deadline.

Members voted Oct. 1-3 to allow Loeb to go on strike if talks fail to reach a new deal. The turnout was 90%, with 98.6% of those voting in favor of authorizing a strike.

Councilor Mitch O’Farrell and Councilor Nithya Raman, whose districts include parts of Hollywood, said they supported union members.

The contract between IATSE and AMPTP expired at the end of July, although it was extended until September 10.

“Solidarity” cited in New Deal for 40,000 behind-the-scenes film and television workers was last modified: October 16, 2021 through Contributing editor

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