IATSE Ratifies New Film/TV Contracts, Deal Loses Popular Vote
Earlier this week, members of the union IATSE voted to ratify the deal made with the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers). Per Deadline, the results are in and by the narrowest of margins, the world of Hollywood will keep on spinning as a strike has been averted. The vote, which follows standard electoral college system rules, came in much closer than usual, with a vote for ratification coming in at 50.3% and 49.7% voting no on both contracts proposed.
In the case of this deal, there was a razor-thin popular vote with 52% in favor and 48% opposed. As Deadline states, these results should “be a particular matter of concern for [Matt] Loeb, and the rest of the union leadership.” Loeb is the current IATSE President who, after making the deal with AMPTP at the eleventh hour back in October, has endorsed these deals much to the chagrin of their membership who felt let down by their leadership.
As a quick recap: union members were fighting for better working conditions and wanted an agreement that allowed for:
- 10 hours between shifts
- 54-hour workweek (a workweek that is allotted to the stars of any given project)
- Increased penalties to producers who force crews to work through designated meal breaks
- Observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday
- 3% wage increase over the next three years.
As the deadline to come to an agreement was fast approaching, social media has been flooded, thanks to Instagram accounts like IATSE Stories, which have put crew members real-life stories to the forefront, highlighting the dangers that happen on set from being denied basic bathroom privileges to having to drive home exhausted after a 14+ hour day. These matters were only accentuated after the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was shot and killed on the set of Alec Baldwin‘s western Rust.
The deal that was presented was split into two: the Basic Agreement, covering 13 Hollywood local unions, and the Area Standards Agreement, which covers the remaining 23 local unions outside of Los Angeles. While the deals address what the unions were asking for, mainly 10-hour turnaround times between shifts, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is now a recognized holiday, and a 3% increase in pay over the next three years, they also didn’t include significant benefits and didn’t include full residuals, which has been a conversation point across the board since the COVID pandemic shifted consumption of entertainment to digital platforms, which is its own ball of wax.
This is a subdued victory for the union leadership, as the ratification revealed friction beneath the surface with some of the younger members who are looking for stronger moves and protections from their leadership. Yet the most important takeaway from all of this is that these new safety measures that have been voted on create better working environments for the crews that work on the TV shows and films that we know and love.
The investigation is still ongoing.
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