The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) has completed negotiations with Hollywood studios on the Area Standards Agreement, the bargaining agreement that governs film and television productions outside of Los Angeles and New York along with 26 IATSE locals nationwide.
In a statement, IATSE president Matthew Loeb said that the Area Standards Agreement contains all of the provisions gained by the union in the Hollywood Basic Agreement and Videotape Agreement deals reached earlier this month. A deal on Area Standards was expected after the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) reached a deal on the Hollywood agreement less than 36 hours before the 13 West Coast IATSE locals were set to go on strike.
“We were able to achieve gains in all of our core areas,” Loeb said. “Quality of life issues were at the top of our priority list. The protective terms we negotiated in this agreement and the agreement reached earlier establish a defined weekend with the studios for the first time. The two agreements incorporate stiff penalties for failing to provide meals and breaks. Taken together, the improvements we made at the bargaining table are very significant and directly due to the solidarity of our members.”
As with the Hollywood agreement, IATSE locals nationwide will hold meetings with members to discuss the finer points of the Area Standards Agreement prior to a ratification vote that will take place several weeks from now on both contracts. The final draft of the agreement is still pending as the specific contract language is still being developed, a process that takes longer for IATSE than other Hollywood guilds as the deal covers conditions for a wide range of below-the-line professions.
Loeb and other IATSE leaders have hailed the agreements as the best ever won by the union and praised members for providing the necessary leverage to achieve it with a near-unanimous strike authorization vote last month. Among the terms negotiated were a 54-hour turnaround period on weekends for productions and 10-hour turnarounds daily, capping the limit on shoot days at 14 hours for all productions including first-season TV shows that frequently ran over that limit. Positions like script coordinators that have been paid as little as $16 per hour will also see their pay jump to $23.50 per hour, eventually rising to $26 per hour by 2024.
“Goals we have been pursuing, in some cases for decades, have been achieved in these negotiations,” Loeb said, adding that the deal “delivers our members a fairer deal on streaming.”
But the deal has been poorly received by many union members who feel that the deal does not go far enough to improve the poor working conditions on film and TV sets, a sentiment that has only become more vocal following news that Alec Baldwin accidentally killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins while practicing drawing a firearm on the set of the film “Rust” last week.