Close on the heels of signing a modified below-the-line contract with NBC, officials from the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees will meet with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers Friday, specifically to see if there’s any interest from other television producers in striking similar deals.The two-year deal with NBC, disclosed Tuesday, gives NBC a break in local filming costs in the area of longform TV. In return, the company has agreed to shoot most — if not all — of its telefilms and miniseries in the Los Angeles area. “It is always difficult to modify an existing agreement in order to meet competitive costs, but the important factor is that for the first time a major producer such as NBCP has agreed to a specific commitment to do movies in Los Angeles with IATSE crews,” said IA president Al DiTolla. “This meets the primary objective of the union, which is to gain more employment for its members in Hollywood.” As a next step, the IA is investigating whether other production companies and networks are willing to work out a similar deal, with the emphasis being placed on the company’s willingness to make the commitment to film locally. Part of the new agreement calls for a reduced wage schedule, which both IA and NBC officials say will make Los Angeles competitive in terms of location shooting. It also eliminates golden time, drive-to fees and reduces holiday and vacation pay in some instances. “We initiated the negotiations with IATSE because of our desire to produce locally while maintaining competitive cost structures,” said Wayne Rickert, NBC West Coast veepee of employee relations. “The resulting agreement represents a joint labor-management effort that addresses the competitive needs of producing made-for-television longform product in Los Angeles. “We found a solution that meets both NBCP’s business needs and the IA’s stated objective of maximizing employment opportunities, as well as benefiting the Los Angeles area economy.” While union officials say the new contract will mean “thousands of days of work” for their members, they said that members will have the right to refuse employment under the new terms and not be penalized (as to their seniority roster status).
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