EXCLUSIVE: Leaders of IATSE’s 13 production locals in Hollywood are showing a united front in their negotiations for a new film and TV contract with management’s Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. In a joint statement, they said that their locals “stand together in our fight for sustainable pension and health benefits, reasonable rest, improved working conditions, and livable wages. These basic worker rights are the cornerstone of the labor movement, and we all are committed to fighting for them in order to create a more humane and equitable workplace.”
Bargaining for a new Basic Agreement broke off Friday after four weeks of negotiations and are set to resume on July 6. The current contract expires July 31, so there’s still plenty of time to reach an agreement, though union leaders have said that the talks had made “very little progress” so far and that the two sides “remain far apart in the most important areas.”
They say that the current break in negotiations “provides an opportunity for us to engage our members around our priorities.
“We continue to be told that the industry cannot change the way it does business,” they said in their statement. “What we have learned over the past year is that our industry can put the economic welfare, health and safety of workers first and continue to thrive. We stand in solidarity and remain committed to protecting the health and security of our members and their families.”
More residuals from streaming shows, longer rest periods and increased funding for the Motion Picture Industry Pension & Health Plan, which had been approaching “critical” status before the pandemic, are among the key economic issue the union seeking to achieve.
The union says that since 2016, the “cash residuals” it has bargained for from streaming shows have “jumped from 18.6% of total residuals to more than 43.5% – totaling $215.4 million in cash residuals.”
Cash residuals and streaming residuals have both been on the rise in each of the last five years, the union says, though streaming residuals are making up a larger share of the residuals pie each year as the industry continues its shift to releasing shows on streaming platforms. Since 2016, cash residuals from streaming jumped from 18.6% of total residuals to more than 43.5% last year.
In 2016, streaming residuals of $80.7 million only accounted for 18.6% of the $433.9 million in cash residuals generated by the union’s contract.
In 2017, streaming residuals of $122.9 million accounted for 27.7% of the $443.5 million in cash residuals.
In 2018, streaming residuals of $137.6 million accounted for 30.6% of the $450.2 million in cash residuals.
In 2019, streaming residuals of $177.6 million accounted for 38% of the $467.1 million in cash residuals.
In the pandemic year of 2020, streaming residuals of $215.4 million accounted for 43.5% of the $498.5 million in cash residuals.
Despite the lack of progress on economic issues during the contract talks, union leaders have said that they’ve made “significant progress” on issues of diversity and inclusion. The union’s website says that “equal rights are the cornerstone of the labor movement. Unions were founded on the principle that all people are equal and all people are deserving of respect and fair treatment. Equality issues run through all areas of trade union activities – from health and safety to wage negotiations. IATSE is committed to equality of opportunity and to eliminating all forms of discrimination.”
The union’s bargaining team is led by IATSE international president Matthew Loeb, and AMPTP president Carol Lombardini is heading up the talks for the companies.
The IATSE leaders’ joint statement was signed “in solidarity” by:
Tobey Bays, business agent, Prop Local 44
Thom Davis, business agent, Grips Local 80
Rebecca Rhine, national executive director, Cinematographers Guild Local 600
Scott Bernard, business representative, Sound Local 695
Cathy Repola, national executive director, Editors Guild Local 700
Adam West, business representative, Costumers Local 705
Randy Sayer, business agent, Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Local 706
Greg Reeves, business representative-secretary, Set Lighting Local 728
Robert D. Denne, business representative/secretary-treasurer, Set Painters Local 729
Chuck Parker, national executive director, Art Directors Guild Local 800
Patric Abaravich, business agent, Script Supervisors Local 871
Doug Boney, business agent, Studio Teachers Local 884
Richard Stanley, executive director, Costume Designers Guild Local 892