Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

IATSE union narrowly ratifies new contract with Hollywood producers


A driver displays their support for the IATSE union on October 07, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

Mario Tama | Getty Images

Members of a union that represents film and television crews have ratified two contracts with Hollywood’s studios that address the union’s call for better working hours, safer workplace conditions and improved benefits.

On Monday, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees said 56% of the 641 delegate votes from all 36 locals voting for the basic and area standards agreements were in favor of the deal, while 44% voted “no.”

“From start to finish, from preparation to ratification, this has been a democratic process to win the very best contracts,” said Matthew Loeb, IATSE’s international president. “The vigorous debate, high turnout, and close election, indicates we have an unprecedented movement-building opportunity to educate members on our collective bargaining process and drive more participation in our union long-term.”

The ratification of these contracts comes one month after the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents major film and television production companies, reached a tentative agreement after months of failed negotiations.

IATSE had even voted to initiate a strike if talks with AMPTP had stalled once more.

IATSE uses an electoral college style system where locals are assigned delegates based on the size of their membership. Members vote within their local union and their vote is assigned to the majority result.

Around 72% of the union’s total membership, which is more than 63,000 strong, cast ballots. The popular vote was even closer than the delegate voting, with 50.3% voting yes to ratification and 49.7% voting against it.

“Our goal was to achieve fair contracts that work for IATSE members in television and film—that address quality-of-life issues and conditions on the job like rest and meal breaks,” said Loeb. “We met our objectives for this round of bargaining and built a strong foundation for future agreements.”

The new three-year contracts include a 10-hour turnaround between shifts, 54 hours of rest over the weekend, increased health and pension plan funding and a 3% rate increase every year for the duration of the contract.

There are also stiff financial penalties if these break periods are violated.

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