New pact or hiatus is on cards

The Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees is headed toward either a new deal with studios and nets or a six-month break before resuming talks again.

IATSE and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers began contract talks on Dec. 5 over the Hollywood Basic Agreement, which coveres about 25,000 West Coast, below-the-line employees and 19 locals. Both sides have maintained a news blackout since then.

But knowledgeable sources believe IATSE president Tom Short will walk away from talks at the end of this week if a deal’s not reached by then and not return until June.

The current pact expires Aug. 1. That contract increased hourly contributions to the pension and health plans for the first time in 20 years and maintained the qualification and benefit structure of the health plan.

IATSE’s kept its proposals under wraps outside of asserting it would seek to expand its jurisdiction to screenwriters. It’s also widely expected to seek a bump in mileage rates, currently at 30 cents a mile.

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