IATSE Reveals Most Thorough Details Yet Of Proposed New Deal; Full Contract To Be Unveiled This Weekend – Update

·8 min read

EXCLUSIVE, UPDATED with more details: Less than a week after IATSE struck a strike-averting tentative agreement with the Hollywood studios, streamers and networks for a new film and TV contract, members of the union will learn the actual details of the deal as soon as this weekend.

“The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) will be sent to you as soon as it is completed and received from legal staff of both sides,” said a missive sent out to Local 800 on Tuesday evening. “You will then have the detail notes and the contract language,” Art Directors Guild chief Nelson Parker and other Local execs added.

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Heading towards a ratification vote in the coming weeks, the plan is that Local 800 will unveil the fine print of the hard-fought three-year agreement during the virtual ADG Fall General Membership meeting October 23. “Those details and comparisons to where we were, what was asked for, and what we won will be presented,” the Local 800 officials said. “We hope you will join us online to hear firsthand what is in the deal.”

As union leadership pitches members on a majority “Yes” vote, other locals are planning to have town halls or similar information sessions to dive into the details of a deal that has been pretty much hidden from view since the Matthew Loeb-led IATSE came to a pact with the Carol Lombardini-led AMPTP in the afternoon of October 16.

In the meantime, IATSE on Tuesday evening sent out even more thorough reference and discussion points.

STREAMING IMPROVEMENTS — FACT SHEET

Improvements for streaming productions (outlined below) with the exception of those beginning principal photography or if the license agreement is in place prior to August 1, 2022:

• INCREASED WAGES FOR EPISODIC: SVOD productions for High Budget Tier 2 (any subscriber amount), High Budget Tiers 1 and 2 (less than 20M subscribers), and long-form mini-series (longer than 66 minutes in length) will see significant wage increases from the MOW rates. Some classifications will receive increases up to 30%.

• INCREASED WAGES FOR MINI-SERIES: SVOD mini-series that used the MOW wages (tier 2 on services with more than 20 million subscribers, tier 1 and 2 on services with less than 20 million subscribers) will see rate increases of up to 30%, depending on the classification.

• INCREASED WAGES FOR LONG-FORM: Streaming feature-length productions between $20 – $32 million will no longer be able to utilize the MOW rates. Rates will increase up to 30% depending on the classification.

• INCREASED WAGES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR LOW-BUDGET: Lowbudget productions that are 20 minutes or longer (previously subject to negotiation) are now set at no less than the Mid-Budget wages, terms and conditions.

ECONOMIC — FACT SHEET

• Yearly scale wage increases of 3% in each year of the Agreement, compounded. This first increase is retroactive to August 1, 2021.

• The lowest paid members in Local 871 will see significant increases each year of the agreement, resulting in a rate of $26 per hour by year three.

• The Health and Pension Plans are funded by the Employers. For the term of the agreement, on-going hourly contribution increases resulting in $370 million in new money over the 3 years of the contract. This will keep our Plans funded, with no reduction of benefits or increases to qualifications or premiums.

• Eligible retirees who retired prior to August 2009 will continue to receive their 13th and 14th checks during the term of this agreement.

• On Call employees currently receive 60 hours of pension and health contributions for a five-day workweek. Weekly contributions for on call employees will increase to 65 hours beginning August 2022 and again to 70 hours in 2023. These additional 10 hours are more than a 16.5% increase in benefit hours per week.

• Workers under the IATSE Basic Agreement across the entire U.S. will be entitled to the same sick leave benefits as California members.

WORKING CONDITIONS — FACT SHEET

• The strongest weekend turnaround provision of any IA contract in either the U.S. or Canada has been negotiated: 90 days after ratification of the agreement, hourly employees will receive 54 hours of rest when you work five consecutive days in a week, and 32 hours of rest when you work six days. There are three narrow exception scenarios that may be used to reduce the rest period to fifty (50) hours.
They are:
o Exterior Night Shooting
o Limited Access to a Location
o Health and Safety concerns due to weather or a natural hazard
The exceptions may only be used a limited number of times:
o No more than once every six (6) weeks on an episodic and mini-series
o Once on a one-time motion picture 66 minutes – 85 minutes in length
o Twice on a theatrical motion picture or one-time motion picture longer than 85 minutes in length. When an exception is used the fifth day of the workweek cannot be longer than twelve (12) hours worked.

• 90 days after ratification, for hourly employees (local and nearby), all dramatic and non-dramatic television and features and all live-action dramatic SVOD streaming productions over 20 minutes long will have a 10-hour daily turnaround.

• 90 days after ratification, for distant-hire hourly employees working on dramatic and non-dramatic television and features and all live-action dramatic SVOD streaming productions over 20 minutes long will have a 9-hour daily turnaround calculated portal-to-portal.

• These changes now include the types of productions that are most abusive: pilots and first season of a series. Any classifications that have a greater turnaround provision will not be reduced.

• Effective immediately upon ratification, after four meal penalties, every half hour will now be paid at $25.00. This represents an 85% penalty increase when shooting in a studio, and a 100% penalty increase outside of the studio.

• In any given workweek, after 20 meal penalties have been accrued, each ½ hour meal penalty will be paid at one hour of the individual’s prevailing rate.

• MLK Jr. Day will now be a recognized holiday. We are the first of the Industry Unions and Guilds to achieve this.

In emails and other correspondence put out after Deadline broke the news of the deal Saturday, IATSE provided its nearly 60,000-strong below-the-line members with bullet points of the agreement – which pleased some, and rubbed others the wrong way.

Once the initial gasps of joy subsided Saturday night that, after months and months of talks and an expired contract, the two sides had reached a deal just over 30 hours before the IATSE-set strike deadline of October 18 at 12:01 AM, a number of voices of dissent rang out on social media. Vacillating between accusing the union leadership settling for scraps to the status quo being maintained, streamers getting away without paying their fair share and vital shift and turnaround times demands being ignored, critics even encouraged some members to vote “No” on an as-yet unspecified ratification.

Amidst all that, IATSE officials felt the heat even as they had averted the first overall strike in their nearly 130-year history. However, as the paperwork came together in a traditionally impatient industry, they could only assure members that all would be made clear and specific once the final wording was in place.

“We are confident members will see this is a good agreement,” a union exec told Deadline. On Saturday, the Art Directors Guild leadership went so far to call the proposed deal “the strongest contract we have achieved in our history.”

The hard reality of the process was in many way anticlimactic after the past two weeks, when, fueled by a 98% strike authorization vote result that was made public October 4, IATSE’s united front sent a shockwave through corner-office Hollywood.

Suddenly shaken from the nugatory of the stalled talks, the producers and powers-that-be finally realized this narrative was looking a lot like a labor Cuban Missile Crisis. With a team of elders including real-life Tom Hagen Ken Ziffren, Disney TV boss Peter Rice and the DGA’s former executive national director Jay Roth brought in to offer consul and guidance, most of the deal came together fairly quickly over October 14-15.

Still, despite the optimistic smoke signals both parties were leaking out, the situation was a deft calibration of realism and timing – with IATSE feeling it had the momentum on its side as they hung the picket-line placards of Damocles over the producers and the prospect of most of Hollywood shutting down this so-called “Striketober.”

Now, we are all working for the weekend – figuratively.

As we wait, here is what the influential International Cinematographers Guild put out today to keep everyone focused:

David Robb contributed to this report

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