IATSE and management’s Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers have wrapped up their third week of bargaining for a new film and TV contract covering the union’s 13 West Coast production locals, including its three national locals – the Cinematographers Guild, the Editors Guild, and the Art Directors Guild. The current pact expires on July 31.
This is the third major film and TV deal the AMPTP has negotiated during the Covid-19 pandemic. An agreement with the WGA was reached last July, and a deal with SAG-AFTRA came just a month later. The DGA got its deal on March 5, 2020, just days before the lockdown.
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Three years ago, the ratification of IATSE’s current contract proved to be one of the most hotly debated and contentious votes in the union’s history. It was ratified by a vote of 308-73 in an electoral college-style system that allots so many votes to each local based on the size of their memberships. All 73 “No” votes were cast by the Editors Guild, the IA’s second-largest local, which has been critical of the deal for months. IATSE’s 12 other West Coast studio locals all voted to ratify the pact. Shortening the industry’s abusively long workdays, and funding the union’s pension and health plan were the hottest issues, and gains were made in those areas.
At the time, IATSE international president Matthew Loeb called the agreement “a huge victory for the skilled professionals who bring motion pictures to life,” saying it will generate $750 million in new wages, pump $153 million into the union’s health plan, bolster the union’s pension plan by creating a new revenue stream from new media, shorten the industry’s abusively long workdays, and enhance safety.
But with nearly all of his members unemployed for months on end during the pandemic, those earnings projections will almost certainly fall far short.
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