IATSE and Producers Reach a Tentative Agreement for the Theatrical and Television Motion Picture Area Standards Agreement
The Area Standards Agreement Covers 20,000 Workers in Major Production Hubs across the Country
Contract ratification can now move ahead for a combined 60,000 workers in TV and film nationwide.
News Release from IATSE, Oct 26, 2021
NEW YORK –The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) has reached a tentative three-year agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) for the Theatrical and Television Motion Picture Area Standards Agreement, covering approximately 20,000 film and television workers across the United States. This is the second contract reached in the last two weeks between the union and the AMPTP, the trade group representing large studios, streamers and producers.
The proposed contract, like the Basic and Videotape Tentative Agreements reached earlier this month, addresses core issues including across-the-board wage increases; reasonable rest periods; meal breaks; a living wage for those on the bottom of the pay scale; and significant increases in compensation to be paid by streaming services to IATSE members.
“We were able to achieve gains in all of our core areas,” said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb. “Quality of life issues were at the top of our priority list. The protective terms we negotiated in this agreement and the agreement reached earlier establish a defined weekend with the studios for the first time. The two agreements incorporate stiff penalties for failing to provide meals and breaks. Taken together, the improvements we made at the bargaining table are very significant and directly due to the solidarity of our members.”
A tentative agreement was reached only after months of stalled negotiations, which led IATSE’s leaders to call a strike authorization vote.
IATSE members across the country voted to authorize the union’s international president to call the first nationwide strike in the union’s 128-year history if contract talks didn’t result in new agreements for 60,000 film and television workers that fall under the Basic Agreement, Videotape Agreement and the Area Standards Agreement. On Oct 4, it was announced that with a 90 percent voter turnout, 98.6 percent of those voting supported authorizing a strike. The following week a strike date was announced. Only then did AMPTP address the core issue areas necessary to avert a strike.
After a tentative deal was reached on the Basic Agreement and Videotape Agreement contracts, talks continued for the Area Standards Agreement. The proposed contract, which still needs to be ratified by members, covers workers in a wide variety of crafts represented by 23 IATSE local unions across the country. The earlier agreements pertained to 13 West Coast-based IATSE local unions which collectively represent an additional 40,000 film and television workers.
“This agreement delivers our members a fairer deal on streaming,” said Loeb.
The tentative agreement reached this week, like those earlier in the month, will significantly lift the lowest wage workers. The lowest earners will see wage increases of up to 60 percent. For example, the wages of a television art department coordinator will rise to $26 per hour by the third year. All members who work under these contracts will see their wages rise by a minimum of nine percent over the life of the three-year agreement.
“Goals we have been pursuing, in some cases for decades, have been achieved in these negotiations,” said Loeb.
IATSE members will be briefed by their local leaders on full details and language of the tentative agreement in the coming weeks. Final language is still being drafted by lawyers representing both the union and AMPTP.
The ratification vote for the two proposed agreements will be held simultaneously, with members casting ballots online using a process similar to the one used to conduct the recent strike authorization vote. A date for the ratification vote has not yet been set. For the first time, members represented under the Area Standards Agreement will have the opportunity to directly vote on whether to ratify the agreement.
The AMPTP is a trade association that represents major employers and producers of television and film including Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Apple, Netflix, and Amazon, among others.
The Theatrical and Television Motion Picture Area Standards Agreement covers IATSE members working in feature film and television production in most of the country, with the exception of the West Coast, New York and Chicago.
Along with near unanimous backing from its own members, IATSE received widespread support for its campaign for a new contract from actors, directors and others in the entertainment community in the United States and across the globe, and from the AFL-CIO and the broader labor movement. In addition, 120 members of Congress added their names to a letter of support.
IATSE’s below-the-line workers include camera operators, grips, prop makers, set dressers, makeup artists, editors, script coordinators, publicists and many other job categories key to producing film and television.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE (full name: International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada), is a labor union representing over 150,000 technicians, artisans and craftspersons in the entertainment industry, including live theatre, motion picture and television production, and trade shows in the United States and Canada.