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Hollywood Film and TV Crews Union Agreement Averts Strike

Hollywood film and television production crews avert a nationwide strike after reaching a tentative agreement with movie and TV production companies.

Hollywood film and television production crews have averted a nationwide strike after reaching a tentative three-year agreement with an alliance of movie and TV producers.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees on Saturday reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for The Basic and Videotape Agreements, which affects 40,000 film and television workers represented by 13 West Coast IATSE local unions, according to a union statement. The agreement still must be ratified by IATSE members.

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

The union’s workers affected by the agreement include camera operators, grips, prop makers, set dressers, makeup artists, editors, script coordinators, publicists and many other job categories key to producing and film and television.

The proposed contract covers 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.

IATSE union members had planned to go on strike Monday at 12:01 a.m., PDT, until issues related to the quality of their lives were addressed.

“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,” Loeb said.

The AMPTP trade association represents major employers and producers of television and film including Walt Disney Co.  (DIS) - Get Walt Disney Company Report, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report, Netflix  (NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) Report, and Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report among others.

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IATSE represents 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.

Terms of the tentative agreement include achievement of a living wage for the lowest-paid earners, improved wages and working conditions for streaming, retroactive wage increases of 3% annually, increased meal period penalties, daily rest periods of 10 hours without exclusions, weekend rest periods of 54 hours, Martin Luther King Jr. birthday holiday added to schedule and adoption of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. 

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

Two weeks ago, IATSE members who work in television and film production at 36 IATSE local unions across the country voted to authorize the union’s international president to call the first nationwide strike in the union’s 128-year history if contract talks didn’t result in new agreements for 60,000 film and television workers that fall under the Basic Agreement and the Area Standards Agreement. Voter turnout was 90 percent, with 98.6 percent of those voting in support of authorizing a strike, the statement said.

On Wednesday, Loeb announced that a strike would begin Monday if a deal had not been reached.

Prior to the strike authorization vote, negotiators for the AMPTP had not spoken to the union’s bargaining team for two weeks, the union said. After the overwhelming showing of support from members, negotiations resumed, but the Union believed it lacked a sense of urgency. 

The pace of talks quickened after the announcement of the strike date was set for Oct. 18. Substantial progress was made on Friday and final details for the Basic Agreement were reached late Saturday, according to the statement.

Negotiations continue for those who work under the similar Area Standards Agreement and belong to IATSE local unions in major production hubs such as New Mexico, New York, Illinois, Georgia and Louisiana.