Top Priorities for Union Unveiled

By Chanak Maduranga

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Top Priorities for Union Unveiled

On Monday, Hollywood’s top crew union re-enters what may prove to be the most onerous stage of its 2024 contract negotiations with studios and streamers.

Thirteen of IATSE‘s West Coast Locals, representing an array of crafts workers from costumer designers to prop masters to editors, are resuming their general negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (which bargains on behalf of major Hollywood companies). And as this tricky period of talks begins, touching on hot-button topics like compensation and AI, the West Coast Locals on Monday released their major proposals for management to members.

Some top issues for the 50,000-strong coalition of Locals include raising minimum wage rates a “significant” amount, instituting contractual language on the use of AI and restricting companies from allegedly subcontracting work that is covered by the IATSE deal, as The Hollywood Reporter previously reported. The Locals are also, as expected, endeavoring to heighten penalties for long work days that do not provide union members with a prescribed number of breaks and to bring more funding into their health and pension plans after the 2023 writers’ and actors’ strikes, when many crew members were out of work, drained these benefits.

According to Monday’s message, the union believes it must infuse $670 million of additional funding into the health and pension plans (the Motion Picture Industry Pension & Health Plans, or MPIPHP) over the course of three years. “A significant portion of that is due to the loss of employment resulting in a reduction of reported hours last year and continuing today. Also, funds from reserves in the MPI health plan were utilized to extend eligibility, ensuring continued coverage for participants,” the Locals stated.

The IATSE Locals also detailed some additional proposals on Monday: They are advocating for the institution of a 401(k) plan that will supplement their existing pension plan and Individual Account Plan (IAP). They are seeking to change or get rid of some sideletters (which ones are not specified) to their agreement. They want to augment their current sick leave and change “the wage differences in different genres under the Videotape Agreement.”

“Together, we remain united, committed to securing a tentative agreement that members across all 13 locals will be pleased to ratify,” the Locals stated.

The return to general negotiations follows a smooth series of negotiations over Local-specific issues. From mid-March until late April, the 13 West Coast Locals individually negotiated with the AMPTP over their craft issues, a process that took as much time as was originally budgeted. “At the table we’re seeing improved engagement and dialogue” from employers, IATSE vp Mike Miller said in a statement on April 26. “That indicates the studios’ negotiators have different marching orders this contract cycle. This approach will be helpful as we continue our negotiations over the next few weeks.”

The next few weeks will determine if, indeed, talks over high-stakes compensation and AI issues will remain as productive. The general negotiations for IATSE West Coast Locals are currently scheduled to take place until May 16.

Chanak Maduranga

passionate journalist behind 'USA News Now 24', dedicated to delivering timely and accurate updates on US affairs. Committed to journalistic integrity and informing audiences with credible news coverage.

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