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IATSE and Other Crew Unions Make Pension and Health Proposals as Bargaining Begins

IATSE and the Hollywood Basic Crafts unions opened bargaining on Monday by making their proposals on pension and health items.

The first day of bargaining followed a massive rally on Sunday, at which union leaders warned of a sequel to last year’s Hot Labor Summer if no deal is reached by the July 31 contract deadline.

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The talks started at 2 p.m. with an unusually large delegation of crew unions on hand to bargain with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the major studios.

The bargaining is expected to take place under a media blackout, in a sign that both sides think it would be counterproductive to share specifics of their proposals in the press.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees agreed to bargain jointly with Teamsters Local 399 and the other Basic Crafts unions on issues pertaining to the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans.

The unions were expected to demand a new streaming residual that would augment the employer contributions into the pension and health plans. The unions sought the same provision in bargaining in 2021, but did not get it.

The pension and health plans are facing an unusually large shortfall in the wake of last year’s double strike, which shut down the scripted side of the industry for six months.

“The coalition of unions presented initial proposals to the AMPTP relating to the shared MPI benefit plans,” the unions advised membership in a brief update on social media on Monday evening. “Talks are expected to continue throughout the week.”

The bargaining process is expected to be slow. After the joint discussions on pension and health, IATSE is expected to begin bargaining the Basic Agreement, which affects 13 West Coast locals. Attention will turn to the Area Standards Agreement, which affects other locals around the country, in late April, and Teamsters Local 399 will bargain its separate issues in June.

The unions have already pledged not to extend the contracts beyond the expiration date.

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