Despite contention led by one Los Angeles union local over issues such as streaming show residuals and turnaround times between work shifts, Hollywoods rank-and-file poduction workers will stay on the job through 2021.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees voted overwhelmingly to accept the new three-year contract offered by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers late Wednesday. Although Editors Guild members of Local 700 broke ranks with the 12 other West Coast IATSE locals by voting to reject the producers offer, the national organization was clearly pleased with the result.
“The 43,000 members in the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts 13 West Coast Studio Local Unions ratified a new Producer-IATSE Basic Agreement with the AMPTP,” an IATSE press release said.
“Twelve of the thirteen Local Unions voted to ratify the contract. The three-year contract — with wages, health and retirement benefits retroactive to July 31, 2018 — includes broad gains in several key areas for workers, with no givebacks.”
The AMPTP, which represents studios, networks and numerous production companies, was also pleased with sealing the deal with cinematographers, script supervisors, the many construction and support workers and hundreds of other craftspeople that IATSE represents. This weeks below-the-line deal comes on the heels of agreements last year with guilds representing above-the-line movie and TV talent such as actors, directors and writers.
“The AMPTP applauds the leadership of IATSE President Matt Loeb and the Business Representatives of the IATSE West Coast Studio Local Unions in obtaining ratification of a new three-year Hollywood Basic Agreement,” a statement sent by Jarryd Gonzales, who handles communications for the AMPTP, said. “We look forward to continuing our long-time working partnership with the IATSE and its Local Unions to address the evolving needs of both management and labor as significant transitions and new developments occur in the industry during the term of the new agreement.”
Those transitions include the rise of Internet streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. The Editors Guild and other opponents of the new contract felt the residual formula the producers offered for the exploding number of shows made exclusively for streamers was grossly inadequate. Another big issue Local 700 specifically had with the Basic Agreement was that, while the other West Coast locals all got a 10-hour turnaround period between work shifts out of it, the L.A. editors were only given nine hours.
A post on Local 700s cinemontage.org website noted that 89 percent of its members who voted rejected the new pact.
“So many of you became engaged in a way that I have not seen during my nearly 26 years with the Guild,” Editors Guild national executive director Cathy Repola, who led the unprecedented charge against the new contract, was quoted from an e-mail she sent to members in the post. “You have demonstrated to everyone watching, what it means to be a union. I commend you for that, and I am so proud to be able to stand side-by-side with you.
Big IATSE says that the new Basic Agreement increases wages by 3 percent each year; touts details of the improved rest periods and that employer-provided transportation or housing after long work days is now included; improves employer contributions to its health plans; and creates a 401K committee, among other gains.
“This contract is a vital step forward in the continued financial health of our retirement benefits and maintains our robust health benefits, with no increased costs to members,” IATSE International president Loeb said in the press release. “I would like to thank the members of the bargaining committee, who put in hundreds of hours of hard work over the last year to get this done. Your dedication to our members well-being improves working conditions for everyone working in our industry.”