Teamsters Head "Optimistic" on Ratification of New Commercial Deal

Courtesy of Teamsters Local 399
Steve Dayan

Members will vote Saturday in advance of a strike deadline.

Teamsters Local 399 reached a tentative agreement with commercial producers, the union announced Tuesday, likely averting a threatened strike by drivers and location managers. The deal, which both the union and the negotiating committee recommended, the latter unanimously, now goes to members for an up or down vote at a meeting Saturday.

"I'm optimistic the members will ratify [the deal]," said union secretary-treasurer Steve Dayan in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "The committee and staff did a fantastic job." Dayan also commended other unions and guilds.

The tentative deal comes a week after members rejected an earlier, "last, best and final offer" from the producers, a deal which the union recommended but the committee was split on. The no vote automatically served as a strike authorization, raising the possibility of a walkout Feb. 1.

Dayan said he believes the revised deal will find favor with the membership and added, "we didn't want to be the reason for a work stoppage. This affects our brothers and sisters at SAG-AFTRA, the DGA and IATSE. We want to send the message that Hollywood is open for business." Terms of the deal were not disclosed pending the vote.

"These are difficult economic times," said Dayan, who added that the rejection of the earlier offer had a silver lining: "Even though this has been a difficult period, members are getting involved. They're engaged. I'm very proud."

Noting that the union's major TV/theatrical contract is up for negotiation this year, with talks to be preceded by IATSE's TV/theatrical negotiations, Dayan remarked that "the relationship with IATSE has improved dramatically," which he said was good for all crew members.

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