The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Teamsters Local 399, and the Basic Crafts unions will negotiate their health and pension plan benefits together in upcoming talks with Hollywood studios in March, the first time they have done so since 1988.
In a joint announcement, the unions that represent thousands of crew members, truck drivers, and laborers in the entertainment industry laid out how negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), will play out over the spring and summer. The unions will jointly negotiate on terms pertaining to the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan (MPIPHP), which handles healthcare and retirement plans for all of the unions’ members, starting on the first week of March.
Once those health and pension negotiations are complete, IATSE will begin talks on the Hollywood Basic Agreement, which covers crew workers on productions in the Los Angeles area, and the Area Standards Agreement, which covers productions across the rest of North America.
Teamsters and the Basic Crafts are then expected to begin their contract negotiations in June. The Basic Crafts consists of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 40 (IBEW), Laborers International Union of North America Local 724 (LiUNA!), United Association Plumbers Local 78 (UA) and Operating Plasterers & Cement Masons International Association (OPCMIA) Local 755.
“Our benefit plans remain at the forefront of members’ minds. Though the plans took a hit financially due to work stoppages prolonged by the employers in 2023 as well as the pandemic work stoppage in 2020, the trustees of the plan knew funds spent to ensure continuity of workers’ health and retirement benefits was money well spent,” said IATSE VP Michael Miller in a statement.
“It’s important for our unions to be on the same page as we collaboratively negotiate for the plans not only because sustainable benefits is a shared priority of our memberships, but also because recent hardships have brought behind-the-scenes crews together in historic fashion.”
In a joint statement, the unions announced that it will be seeking increased retirement accrual rates for their members, something that will be key given, as TheWrap first reported, thousands of MPIPHP members took “hardship withdrawals” out of their retirement plans during the WGA/SAG-AFTRA double strike last year to keep up with living expenses while out of work.
The unions will also be seeking streaming-based funding mechanisms for the MPIPHP. While the WGA and SAG-AFTRA negotiated new residual structures based around streaming with bonuses for films and TV shows that perform well, residuals for crew members go to their health and pension plans rather being sent directly to them in the form of extra income.
The agreements for IATSE, Teamsters and the Basic Crafts with the AMPTP all expire on July 31.
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