Exclusion galls chief of IATSE

WGA, AMPTP negotiations excluding Alliance

The chief of the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, irked over the apparent exclusion of IATSE from recent revenue calculations, is seeking a meeting with studio CEOs to discuss upcoming contract talks and the impact on his union.

IATSE prexy Thomas C. Short made the request in response to last week’s divergent forecasts by the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers on the three-year impact of the WGA’s contract demands.

“It is clear that both parties apparently did not include the impact of any settlement on residuals for the 35,000 or so craftpersons represented by the IATSE in the motion picture and television industry,” Short wrote.

“As president of the IATSE,” he continued, “I want to make it clear that the IATSE fully intends to be involved in any improvements for residuals in the industry.

“Historically, the IATSE has negotiated comparable residual formulas for theatrical product on free TV and supplemental markets, including videotape, on a percentage that reflects the large IATSE membership working on motion pictures.”

Residuals ‘crucial’

Short said residuals are “crucial’ to pension benefits for IATSE members and added that the union is concerned over changes in contracts involving technology, including the Internet. In late 1999, nearly a year prior to contract expiration, IATSE reached a deal with the AMPTP that covers up to August 2003.

AMPTP chief Nick Counter said his org’s $2.4 billion projection included residuals gains for IATSE and union musicians but added he would be happy to meet with Short as soon as possible.

A spokeswoman for the WGA –which projected $725 million in gains for actors, writers and directors — said, “The WGA has offered to meet with all guild and unions to discuss issues of our upcoming contract talks. We look forward to meeting with Mr. Short or (other) representative of the IA.”

The WGA and the AMPTP will meet for two weeks of contract talks starting Jan. 22. The WGA’s current contract expires May 1.

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