IATSE Strike Averted by Provisional Deal That Faces Worker Dissent, Possible Rejection
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Negotiations Stop Hollywood Shut-Down, But Dismayed Workers Discuss Rejecting Deal
IATSE-AMPTP negotiations may not have gotten quite the “Hollywood ending” initially touted by the union after a tentative agreement was reached on Saturday night. While IATSE claimed victory with a “landmark” agreement, outlets from Variety to Indiewire have reported the deal could be rejected by union members who disappointed that the agreement doesn’t do enough to remedy on-set working conditions and streaming compensation.
The tentative agreement was agreed to by IATSE president Matthew Loeb on Saturday, and came just in time to stave off a planned strike of 60,000 below-the-line workers set for today (10/18). The Saturday agreement included a three-year contract for West Coast Film & TV Workers (40,000-45,000 workers), while talks continued over the Area Standards Agreement (10,00-15,000 workers), which governs production in hubs like Georgia, New Mexico and Louisiana. While details of the West Coast deal have yet to be made public or released to all members, an IATSE press release from Saturday claims that it includes a living wage for the lowest-paid workers, a 3% annual wage increase for all workers, improved wages and working conditions for streaming, daily rest periods of 10 hours and weekend rest periods of 54 hours, an increase in meal period penalties, the addition of MLK day to the schedule, and the adoption of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
However, reporting on Monday morning suggested many union members were so dismayed by the contract’s shortcomings that they were planning to vote against its ratification. According to Indiewire, which surveyed social media in addition to speaking with sources in the union, major sticking points include the lack of restrictions on the length of a given shooting day and the absence of any mention of new media/streaming residuals being paid toward health and pension benefits. According to IATSE workers quoted in Variety, the agreement doesn’t actually do much to change on-set realities, and many workers were fully prepared to strike and bring Hollywood to a standstill. Given the landslide vote in favor of a striking earlier this month (98% of the 90% of IATSE workers who voted on a strike voted in favor of a walk out) and widespread support for the workers, the energy for change is clearly present. The current strife echoes IATSE’s fractious 2018 contract ratification vote, which Indiewire covered contemporaneously.
This update was posted on Monday at 2 p.m. and will be updated with more resources throughout the week as the story develops and details become available.