Late in the midnight hour, a new deal was finally constructed between the members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), via Deadline. After two intense weeks of bargaining for a new contract, the IATSE union members, led by the organization’s president, Matthew Loeb, confirmed they had come to an initial agreement with AMPTP president, Carol Lombardini, on a three-year contract. Once the contract is voted and approved by all of the IATSE members, the work and business of the TV and film industry can proceed strike-free. The potential strike, which would have begun tomorrow, would have been the first in the IATSE’s 128-year history as an organization.
According to Deadline, talks of a new contract began in mid-May, with the IATSE demanding what they considered basic necessities. Some of their demands included longer weekend breaks between shifts and improved liveable wages, especially when it came to working longer hours for productions on streaming services. As the union members felt the AMPTP was not meeting them halfway, the organization voted overwhelmingly – 98% – for Loeb to initiate the strike. The past two weeks, negotiations intensified forcing top-notch executives, including Disney’s Peter Rice, former Director’s Guild of America president, Jay Roth, and veteran industry lawyer, Ken Ziffren, to join the discussion. Loeb described the new agreement as “a Hollywood ending.”
“Our members stood firm. We are tough and united,” Loeb added via Deadline. “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 major terms of the new contract, entitled the Basic Agreement, are listed below:
• Living wage achieved
• Improved wages and working conditions for streaming
• Retroactive scale wage Increases of 3% annually
• Employer Funded Benefits for the term
• Increased meal period penalties including prevailing rate
• Daily Rest Periods of 10 hours without exclusions
• Weekend Rest Periods of 54 and 32 hours
• Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday Holiday
• Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives
• 13th and 14th checks for pre-August 2009 retirees
• Additional MPI Hours for On-Call Employees
• Expansion of Sick Leave Benefit to the entire country
Deadline reports the union members will receive further details of the contract in the coming week. And for members who work in New Mexico, Georgia, Louisana, New York, and Illinois, negotiations will continue to be sorted as they operate under a similar contract known as the Area Standards Agreement. The new contract not only benefits the 60,000 members who work on productions across the nation but will also benefit studios in the long run.
“Our members will see significant improvements, but our employers also will benefit,” said the union VP and Motion Picture Director for IATSE, Mike Miller, according to Deadline. “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,” Miller stated via Deadline.
While the final ratification has yet to come, Loeb and other IATSE leaders gave credit to the members of the union across Hollywood, according to Deadline. “Everything achieved was because you, the members, stood up and gave us the power to change the course of these negotiations…Your strike authorization vote, your preparation for a strike and your willingness to risk your livelihood to fight for yourselves and each other has profoundly changed our union. We thank you for your unwavering support,” the leaders said in a statement via Deadline.