Negotiating panel votes 12-1 to nix deal

The negotiating committee for Hollywood’s union animators has recommended against ratifying a proposed three-year contract with the studios.

The committee, on a 12-1 vote, has told the 2,000 members of Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists Local 839 on the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees that they should vote against the deal when it is submitted next week. The panel cited problems with the negotiating process, unequal salary increases, artist testing, credit placement, late payments to freelancers and the definition of writers.

“A no vote will send a message to the producers that we are tired of being treated like Hollywood’s stepchildren,” the committee wrote. Ballots are due back on Sept. 22.

Local chief disagrees

But Steve Hulett, the local’s chief negotiator and business agent, has told members that they should approve the deal because it represents the best gain in two decades and will be difficult to improve upon if rejected. He also said that not approving the contract by the end of September will keep local members from participating in a health plan surplus distribution that could add as much as $4,000 to individual pension accounts.

“I understand the committee’s unhappiness with much of the final package,” Hulett said in his statement. “It was far less than they wanted and the committee’s treatment by the other side of the table was not easy to take.”

The proposed contract calls for annual raises of 3% while writers were offered 8%, 4% and 3%. The tentative agreement was reached after nine months of talks (Daily Variety, Aug. 21).

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