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The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) has released to members its 49-page memorandum of agreement (MOA), with workers set to begin voting on Nov. 12.
The document summarizes in greater legal detail the tentative Basic Agreement and Theatrical and Television Motion Picture Area Standards Agreements with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
A tentative Basic Agreement was reached Oct. 16, narrowly avoiding a threatened strike, and the Area Standards Agreement was reached Oct. 26; in total, the agreements affect roughly 60,000 film and TV workers. The results of this ratification vote will be announced on Nov. 15.
Members of the 13 union Locals on the West Coast will vote on the Basic Agreement and members outside the West Coast in 23 Locals will vote on Theatrical and Television Motion Picture Area Standards Agreement.
Leaders of all 13 Locals are recommending a “yes” vote and, over the past few weeks, have been holding member meetings to explain the details of the contract, which includes 3 percent annual increases of scale wages that are retroactive, daily 10-hour turnarounds for all, and 54- and 32-hour weekend rest periods.
The MOA shared on Thursday reveals a few more details of the tentative agreement not previously widely circulated. When it comes to the union’s health and pension plans, the future of which some members have been vocal in their concerns about, the agreement establishes that union and producer representatives will form a committee with consultants of the Health Plan and actuaries of the Pension Plan to “conduct a joint study to examine the long-term status” of the plans and brainstorm “possible alternative Plan structures going forward.” Study results would be due to union negotiators and producers by July 1, 2022.
The MOA also sketches out a plan for employers and IATSE to continue discussions over missed meal periods, which union members have been especially vocal about this year. If the tentative agreement is ratified, both sides would agree to work with the Directors Guild of America and/or production executives to further discuss the reality of whether members can take their meal breaks. And: “A meeting of representatives of the AMPTP, IATSE and DGA to discuss the provision of meal periods to the IATSE in a timely manner shall take place as soon as practicable but in no event later than January 31, 2022,” the MOA says. The tentative agreement would also empower IATSE to ask for meetings regarding specific employers with whom members are routinely having meal break issues (no word on whether management would be required to take these meetings), and the AMPTP would have to send out a “bulletin” noting the importance of giving IATSE members their meal breaks within 30 days of ratification.
There are also new details given about the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts that the union and the AMPTP are looking to embark on — one of the few points during lengthy negotiations that both sides agreed to relatively quickly. As part of the tentative agreement, IATSE — which is conducting a member census in 2022 to measure diversity — is going to “encourage” members to voluntarily self-identify in paperwork for the union and employer and agrees to share current and future diversity statistics with the AMPTP. According to the MOA, a joint union-employer Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force is also set to form a committee to start an equity-focused job training program or programs. As part of that initiative, Locals with rosters will be encouraged to join a “working internship program for entry-level rostered classifications.”
Prior to the release of the MOA, IATSE member response to the tentative Basic Agreement was decidedly mixed, with many saying the gains don’t go far enough in addressing their issues, including turnaround time. Some IATSE members argue that the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins on the set Rust — when a prop gun was discharged during a rehearsal — underscores the dangerous working conditions they’ve been agitating to change.
After individual members vote on whether to ratify the contact, each Local will cast its delegate votes and if enough delegate votes are secured, the new three-year Basic Agreement would be ratified. In the weeks prior to the MOA being released to membership, some worried about how long they would have to review the document before the ratification vote.
The Locals that work under the Basic Agreement include Local 600 (International Cinematographers Guild), the largest with 9,000 members; followed by Local 700 (Motion Picture Editors Guild), with 8,500 members, meaning these locals carry the most delegate votes.
The Basic Agreement also covers Local 800 (art directors), Local 44 (affiliated property craftspersons), Local 80 (studio grips, crafts service, set medics, marine department and warehouse workers), Local 695 (production sound technicians, television engineers, video assist technicians and studio projectionists), Local 705 (motion picture costumers), Local 706 (makeup artists and hairstylists), Local 728 (studio electrical lighting technicians), Local 729 (set painters and sign writers), Local 884 (studio teachers), Local 871 (script supervisors/continuity, coordinators, accountants & allied production specialists) and Local 892 (costume designers).
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