IATSE Reaches Tentative Deal With Producers to Avert Strike

Bargaining agreement heads to membership vote for ratification

Entertainment Industry Workers Vote To Strike, Threatening Hollywood Productions IATSE
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Amid the looming and fast approaching deadline, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) has reached a tentative deal with Hollywood’s studios on a new collective bargaining agreement.

IATSE president Matthew Loeb informed members Saturday in a letter (which you can read here) and also put out a press release announcing the new agreement.

“This is a Hollywood ending,” Loeb said. “Our members stood firm. They’re tough and united.”

IATSE members will be briefed by their local leaders on full details and language of the tentative agreement early this week. A ratification vote will be held with members casting ballots online using a similar process that was used to conduct the recent strike authorization vote.

For now, members received a bulletpoint outline of the major terms of the agreement, which are as follows:

  • Achievement of a living wage for the lowest-paid earners
  • Improved wages and working conditions for streaming
  • Retroactive wage Increases of 3% annually
  • Increased meal period penalties
  • Daily rest periods of 10 hours without exclusions
  • Weekend rest periods of 54 hours and 32 hours
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday Holiday added to schedule
  • Adoption of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives  

During talks, IATSE leadership laid out four main areas of concern it wanted addressed as part of any new deal: Excessively unsafe and harmful working hours, unlivable wages for the lowest-paid crafts, consistent failure to provide reasonable rest during meal breaks, between workdays, and on weekends, workers on certain “new media” streaming projects get paid less, even on productions with budgets that rival or exceed those of traditionally released blockbusters.

Broken down a bit more specifically, IATSE was seeking a hard limit on shooting hours to avoid 14-hour shoot days that can lead to exhaustion. They also wanted increased contributions to the union’s health and pension plan, which the AMPTP has agreed to through a yet-to-be-specified provision in streaming residuals. But perhaps the biggest issue — one that all of Hollywood labor is facing — is increased wages and compensation for workers at a time when the streaming boom has caused rapid growth in production demand and profits.

The terms outlined will still allow for a maximum of 14-hour work days on sets, and studios will still be able to hold 6-day work weeks for certain productions. However, productions that have 5-day work weeks will no longer be able to hold “Fraturdays,” late night Friday shoots that last until Saturday morning, thanks to the 54-hour turnaround requirement on weekends for those shoots.

Thirteen West Coast locals will vote to ratify the Hollywood Basic Agreement while 23 other locals will vote on the Area Standards Agreement, which covers shoots outside of Los Angeles and New York. The Area Standards Agreement is still being negotiated, though historically it is consistent with the terms outlined in the Basic Agreement.

The deal comes after more than 60,000 IATSE members who are technicians, artisans and craftspersons in the entertainment industry were days away from going on strike, which would have led to one of the biggest work stoppages in Hollywood history. “Our members will see significant improvements, but our employers also will benefit,” said Mike Miller Vice President and Motion Picture Director for IATSE. “This settlement allows pre-production, production and post-production to continue without interruption. Workers should have improved morale and be more alert. Health and safety standards have been upgraded.”

Deadline was first to report on the agreement. Earlier on Saturday, multiple individuals with knowledge of the discussions said there had been a lot of progress over the last 24 hours in the talks and expressed optimism that a deal was in reach.

IATSE had set a deadline of Monday, Oct. 18, at 12:01 a.m. PT to reach a deal and members have been ready to picket studios starting Monday.