Filed in: Featured, Film, News, Strike Alert, Television, Union Roundup

IATSE Contract Ratification Timeline Released Plus Some “Talking Points”

October 21, 2021 08:35 | By
IATSE

Courtesy IATSE (via Twitter)

While we await Mark London Williams‘ next Strike Alert on Tuesday, there have been scattered updates on the IATSE contract ratification vote over the last few days, including some statements about what the various union leaders are doing to keep their members informed in the meantime.

ADG Local 800 will be having its annual ADG Fall General Membership meeting on Saturday, Oct 23, so if you’re in that union, you should have been notified about the time and place, although presumably, it will be virtual. Other locals will probably be doing the same over the coming week or two.

More importantly, a timeline for the IATSE Contract Ratification was released by the union via Twitter, which points to the vote happening in four distinct phases with the caveat from the union stating,

“There are a lot of moving parts, so we are unable to provide specific dates at this time. However, we CAN provide a general timeline of the process between now and the ratification votes.”

You can see the timeline above and click on that image for larger size or go to the Twitter link below, but the ratification votes for the Basic Agreement (BA) and Area Standards Agreement (ASA) will take place on the same weekend.

Essentially, Phase 1 is the negotiations that led to a tentative deal between AMPTP and IATSE for a Basic Agreement (BA), which averted the strike that was scheduled to happen on Monday. This Basic Agreement covers the 13 West Coast locals. The separate Area Standards Agreement (ASA) contract which covers the 26 locals outside L.A. is now being negotiated using “pattern bargaining” i.e. along the same lines in which the Basic Agreement was reached. Phase 1 also includes meetings of the 13 locals in order to provide information to the members and discuss the terms of the deal. This has all begun and is going on now.

After that new Area Standards Agreement is reached, then we’re into Phase 2 and that MOA  will be reviewed by the other 26 locals and the information sharing process will continue with all members.

Phase 3  comes when the language for both the BA and the ASA has been finalized. At that time, specific information about the two agreements will be distributed to members and a specific date for both ratification votes will be announced by the unions. (This phase may not be reached for weeks or longer, since determining language and legalese often takes more time than actually reaching an agreement.)

Phase 4 is the weekend of the actual vote, which will be facilitated by an independent company called Honest Ballot, the same company that handled the strike authorization vote a few weeks back. That strike authorization was achieved when 98% of the 90% of membership that voted chose to authorize a strike if a fair deal couldn’t be reached in negotiations. The results of that vote will be shared with the members, although nothing has been said yet about whether the membership can’t come to an agreement on the official contracts. Will IATSE and AMPTP return to bargaining? Would a possible strike be back on the table? Would it just be a matter of hashing out one or  two issues or will it be a matter of the whole contract not being satisfactory to members?

Only time will (literally) tell, but in the meantime, you can see the ratification timeline above and in the official IATSE tweet below, and then there’s more information about some of the points below that.

Earlier in the week, a fact sheet was released with some “talking points” about the contract to be discussed before the ratification vote, whenever that may be, which you can read below:

STREAMING IMPROVEMENTS — FACT SHEET

Improvements for streaming productions (outlined below) with the exception of those beginning principal photography or if the license agreement is in place prior to August 1, 2022:

• INCREASED WAGES FOR EPISODIC: SVOD productions for High Budget Tier 2 (any subscriber amount), High Budget Tiers 1 and 2 (less than 20M subscribers), and long-form mini-series (longer than 66 minutes in length) will see significant wage increases from the MOW rates. Some classifications will receive increases up to 30%.

• INCREASED WAGES FOR MINI-SERIES: SVOD mini-series that used the MOW wages (tier 2 on services with more than 20 million subscribers, tier 1 and 2 on services with less than 20 million subscribers) will see rate increases of up to 30%, depending on the classification.

• INCREASED WAGES FOR LONG-FORM: Streaming feature-length productions between $20 – $32 million will no longer be able to utilize the MOW rates. Rates will increase up to 30% depending on the classification.

• INCREASED WAGES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR LOW-BUDGET: Lowbudget productions that are 20 minutes or longer (previously subject to negotiation) are now set at no less than the Mid-Budget wages, terms and conditions.

ECONOMIC — FACT SHEET

• Yearly scale wage increases of 3% in each year of the Agreement, compounded. This first increase is retroactive to August 1, 2021.

• The lowest paid members in Local 871 will see significant increases each year of the agreement, resulting in a rate of $26 per hour by year three.

• The Health and Pension Plans are funded by the Employers. For the term of the agreement, on-going hourly contribution increases resulting in $370 million in new money over the 3 years of the contract. This will keep our Plans funded, with no reduction of benefits or increases to qualifications or premiums.

• Eligible retirees who retired prior to August 2009 will continue to receive their 13th and 14th checks during the term of this agreement.

• On Call employees currently receive 60 hours of pension and health contributions for a five-day workweek. Weekly contributions for on call employees will increase to 65 hours beginning August 2022 and again to 70 hours in 2023. These additional 10 hours are more than a 16.5% increase in benefit hours per week.

• Workers under the IATSE Basic Agreement across the entire U.S. will be entitled to the same sick leave benefits as California members.

WORKING CONDITIONS — FACT SHEET

• The strongest weekend turnaround provision of any IA contract in either the U.S. or Canada has been negotiated: 90 days after ratification of the agreement, hourly employees will receive 54 hours of rest when you work five consecutive days in a week, and 32 hours of rest when you work six days. There are three narrow exception scenarios that may be used to reduce the rest period to fifty (50) hours.
They are:
o Exterior Night Shooting
o Limited Access to a Location
o Health and Safety concerns due to weather or a natural hazard
The exceptions may only be used a limited number of times:
o No more than once every six (6) weeks on an episodic and mini-series
o Once on a one-time motion picture 66 minutes – 85 minutes in length
o Twice on a theatrical motion picture or one-time motion picture longer than 85 minutes in length. When an exception is used the fifth day of the workweek cannot be longer than twelve (12) hours worked.

• 90 days after ratification, for hourly employees (local and nearby), all dramatic and non-dramatic television and features and all live-action dramatic SVOD streaming productions over 20 minutes long will have a 10-hour daily turnaround.

• 90 days after ratification, for distant-hire hourly employees working on dramatic and non-dramatic television and features and all live-action dramatic SVOD streaming productions over 20 minutes long will have a 9-hour daily turnaround calculated portal-to-portal.

• These changes now include the types of productions that are most abusive: pilots and first season of a series. Any classifications that have a greater turnaround provision will not be reduced.

• Effective immediately upon ratification, after four meal penalties, every half hour will now be paid at $25.00. This represents an 85% penalty increase when shooting in a studio, and a 100% penalty increase outside of the studio.

• In any given workweek, after 20 meal penalties have been accrued, each ½ hour meal penalty will be paid at one hour of the individual’s prevailing rate.

• MLK Jr. Day will now be a recognized holiday. We are the first of the Industry Unions and Guilds to achieve this.