IATSE to Resume Studio Talks Over Residuals, AI as LA Locals Reach Tentative Deals

Negotiations over the Hollywood Basic Agreement affecting all Los Angeles-area guild members start Monday

IATSE

On Monday, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees will resume talks with Hollywood studios, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, over a range of serious issues including residuals and so-called “artificial intelligence.”

The news follows the announcement Friday that L.A. locals 44 and 884 have become the last of the guild’s L.A. locals to strike tentative new studio deals.

Studio Teachers (IATSE Local 884) reached a tentative deal on Friday, April 19. Affiliated Property Craftspersons (Local 44) reached its deal on Thursday, April 25.

“Our locals’ craft-specific issues required the employers’ attention, and at the table we’re seeing improved engagement and dialogue. That indicates the studios’ negotiators have different marching orders this contract cycle. This approach will be helpful as we continue our negotiations over the next few weeks,” IATSE International Vice President Mike Miller said in a statement.

As previously stated, the guild will resume negotiations with studios over the Hollywood Basic Agreement, which collectively covers all 13 L.A.-area locals, on Monday, April 29. Those talks are expected to end on May 16. Following their conclusion, IATSE will pivot to negotiating a new Area Standards Agreement, which covers all members working outside of L.A., on May 20. Those talks are expected to run through May 31.

While the locals’ negotiations focused on issues specific to the positions that each of them represents, the next round of talks will deal directly with wage increases, pension and health contributions, quality of life conditions, and job security across members. They’ll also deal with the two issues that most directly caused the double Hollywood strike of 2023: Residuals, and the software popularly referred to as “artificial intelligence.”

The strike, which shut down most film and TV production for a combined 191 days, looms large over these talks. L.A. County’s unemployment rate rose to a two-year high of 5.4% in January, driven in large part by the shut-downs, and IATSE members were hit particularly hard, as below-the-line labor is far more dependent on steady work to survive.

But given the seriousness of concerns about dwindling residuals in the streaming era, and the possibility so-called “AI” could be used to replace labor outright, IATSE, along with fellow below-the-line union Teamsters 399, has consistently said that a strike is not off the table — and crucial to that, both unions have vowed there will be no extensions of their current contracts beyond their expiration date of July 31.

However, a good sign that L.A. need not brace for another shut-down came in March, when talks began “on the right foot,” according to union insiders.

In its announcement Friday, IATSE repeated calls for its members, members of other unions and supporters generally to participate in the #OneFightFridays campaign by wearing union gear on Fridays.

Jeremy Fuster contributed to this report.

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