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IATSE Negotiates Deal Before Its First Strike

Workers in the entertainment industry narrowly averted a strike by thousands of union members on Oct. 18 after reaching a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE, reached a tentative three-year agreement with the alliance for Basic and Videotape Agreements which affects 40,000 film and television workers represented by 13 West Coast IATSE local unions, according to a release from the union. 

The agreement includes provisions on wages, rest breaks and meal breaks. 

IATSE International President Matthew Loeb called the deal a Hollywood ending for the union members who stood firm and united. 

“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 in a statement, 

The AMPTP is a Sherman Oaks-based trade association that represents major employers and producers of television and film including Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. Entertainment both in Burbank, Paramount Pictures, Apple Inc., Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., among others. 

Attempts to reach a representative of the AMPTP for a comment were not successful. 

The union’s below-the-line workers include camera operators, grips, prop makers, set dressers, makeup artists, editors and script coordinators that are key to film and television production. 

Early this month, an overwhelming majority of the IATSE film and television production membership of 60,000 members across the country voted to allow Loeb to call for a strike for the first time in the union’s 128-year history if negotiations failed to produce a new contract. The strike authorization vote had 98.6 percent of the membership backing it. 

The tentative agreement still needs to be approved by the IATSE membership. 

According to a story from Variety, a good number of IATSE members may reject the deal, believing it does not do enough to address concerns about conditions on production sets. 

Among the provisions to be voted on by IATSE members are: improved wages and working conditions for streaming shows; achievement of a living wage for the lowest paid workers; 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; the addition of the Martin Luther King Jr. birthday to the holiday schedule; and adoption of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, according to the union’s release. 

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

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