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Leadership of Local 600, the International Cinematographers Guild, is urging its members to vote “yes” to ratify a tentative agreement between the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and studios. The deal between IATSE and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) was unveiled Oct. 16 and early details of the agreement have divided members.
In a video message to members Tuesday, Local 600 national executive director Rebecca Rhine asserted that “this is what winning looks like” as president John Lindley said that he would vote “yes” as “this contract will improve the lives of tens of thousands of IA members.”
Local 700 national executive director Cathy Repola is believed to be recommending a “yes” vote to the Editors Guild, which has scheduled a member meeting for Sunday, Oct. 24. A union source expects leaders of all 13 Locals to recommend ratification to their boards and members.
In the video message to members, Local 600’s Rhine notes that the union’s strike authorization “gave us the power needed to get an agreement,” and added of the tentative agreement, “no local was left behind. No priority was left unaddressed.”
Responding to negative comments about the deal, Lindley reported that members would “receive more information” and urged them to “read the memorandum of agreement when you get it and use your right to vote.”
In an email sent to members Tuesday, Local 600’s Lindley, Rhine and associate national executive director Chaim Kantor told members that they acknowledged some were not happy with the currently released details of the Basic Agreement. “What we cannot do now is make new proposals that were not put forth by any of the Local Unions’ bargaining committees and that were never made across the table with the Employers, six months into the negotiations process,” the Local 600 leaders said. “That would be regressive and bad faith bargaining which is prohibited by the National Labor Relations Act, but more importantly it would put at risk everything we have gained for an outcome that is unlikely to be better.”
So far, and with some but not all of the agreement details available, the reaction to the tentative deal has been decidedly mixed, with some members of IATSE concerned that the agreement doesn’t bring the radical changes they felt were needed and urging members to vote “no” to ratifying the proposed deal.
A memorandum of agreement is now being drawn up with the details of the tentative deal, which will eventually go to the members of the 13 Locals for a ratification vote. Members say it could take weeks for them to know the full details of the agreement. At that point, individual members will vote on whether to ratify the contact. After individuals vote, each Local will cast its delegate votes and if enough delegate votes are secured, the new three-year Basic Agreement would be ratified.
Local 600, with 9,000 members, and Local 700 (Motion Picture Editors Guild), with 8,500, are the largest of the 13 locals and carry the most delegates.
The union and studios restarted negotiations on the Area Standards Agreement, which took part in IATSE’s strike authorization vote but has not yet concluded a tentative deal, on Wednesday, Local 484 Inclusion & Diversity Committee told members.
Streaming has been a key concern since the tentative deal was announced. On Tuesday, IATSE published a new, short memo to members, outlining some points of the tentative agreement.
Those that are associated with streaming would apply to productions that begin principal photography, or have a license agreement in place, prior to Aug. 1, 2022. According to IATSE, the tentative deal entails wage increases in episodic work for subscription video-on-demand productions for High Budget Tier 2 (any subscriber amount), High Budget Tiers 1 and 2 (less that 20 million subscribers) and longform miniseries (longer than 66 minutes in length) with “some classifications receiving increases up to 30 percent.” The memo also explains that low-budget productions that are 20 minutes or longer (previously subject to negotiations) are now set “at no less than the Mid-Budget wages, terms and conditions.”
Other details that were released about the tentative agreement Tuesday included that the annual scale wage increase of 3 percent will be retroactive to Aug. 1; that increases to hourly contributions to the union’s health and pension plan will add $370 million over the course of the contract; that workers working a five-day week will get a 54-hour turnaround (with some exceptions that can only be invoked a certain number of times) and workers on a six-day week will get a 32-hour turnaround; and that meal penalties have increased to $25 per half-hour after four penalties are invoked and to the worker’s prevailing rate after 20 meal penalties are incurred in one work week.
Meanwhile, a Change.org petition urging members to vote “no” to ratify the tentative agreement has gained over 2,300 signatures as of press time. An Instagram account critical of the agreement called ia_members, with over 8,500 followers, has organized a survey to determine specific complaints of members.
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