Negotiations between WGA, AMPTP on hold

Studios and networks negotiated into the night Tuesday with Teamster drivers and four craft unions but had not reached a deal with as the expiration of the employee contract neared at midnight.

Two days of negotiations at the headquarters of the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers had not yet yielded deal as of late Tuesday. The employees had given negotiators a unanimous strike authorization on July 22.

The expiration of the Basic Crafts contract has put negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the AMPTP on hold. Those talks got off to a rocky start in two sessions in mid-July; no date has been set to resume bargaining on a new contract to replace the current pact, which expires Oct. 31.

The AMPTP, which serves as the negotiating arm for the companies, is negotiating with reps of Teamsters Local 399 and the four other Basic Crafts un-ions — Local 40 of the Intl. Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Local 724 of the Studio Utility Employees; Local 755 of Plasterers and Cement Masons; and Local 78 of Journeymen & Apprentices of the Plumbing & Pipe Fitting Industry.

Teamster drivers are the largest component of the locals repped at the negotiations, with about 4,000 members, while the Studio Utility Employees number more than 1,000. Unlike the WGA talks, both sides have observed a news blackout since negotiations launched in February.

The expiring Basic Crafts deal included a 7% hike in telepic rates and an agreement to keep all episodic TV rates at the same level for the first two years. It also contained a 75¢-per-hour increase in the first year, followed by a 2.5% rise in the second and 3% in the third; and pension plan hikes of 25¢ per hour in the first year, 15¢ in the second and 10¢ in the third.

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