A nationwide strike in the US that would have started today was averted on Saturday, when the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) reached a tentative three-year agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

The deal, for The Basic and Videotape Agreements, affects 40,000 film and television workers represented by 13 West Coast IATSE local unions. A proposed contract addresses 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.

The AMPTP is a trade association that represents major employers and producers of television and film including Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Apple, Netflix, and Amazon, among others.

A small number of IATSE members will be working on productions located in the UK. Bectu had advised its members to support the IATSE action.

“This is a Hollywood ending,” said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb. “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.”

The tentative agreement, which still must be ratified by IATSE members, includes:

A minimum of rest over the weekend.

A living wage for the lowest-paid earners

Improved wages and working conditions for streaming

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

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday Holiday added to schedule

Adoption of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives

“Our members will see significant improvements, but our employers also will benefit,” said Mike Miller Vice President and Motion Picture Director for IATSE. “This settlement allows pre-production, production and post-production to continue without interruption. Workers should have improved morale and be more alert. Health and safety standards have been upgraded.”

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.

Prior to the strike authorization vote, negotiators for the AMPTP had not spoken to the union’s bargaining team for two weeks. After the overwhelming showing of support from members, negotiations resumed, but 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.

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

IATSE received widespread support for its campaign for a new contract from actors, directors and others in the entertainment community. In addition, 120 members of Congress added their names to a letter, and state government leaders in California, New York and other production centers weighed in. The unionalso received backing from the AFL-CIO and the broader labor movement.

IATSE’s below-the-line workers 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.


Jon Creamer

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