WGA negotiations on hold

No date's been set for resumption of talks

Negotiations between union scribes and producers have been put on hold until next week at the earliest.

Contract talks between the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and the Writers Guild of America, which got off to a rocky start in two sessions last week, will take a back seat as studios and networks prep for a round of deal talks with Teamster drivers and four Basic Crafts unions.

No date’s been set yet for the resumption of bargaining with the WGA, which faces an Oct. 31 contract expiration.

The AMPTP, which serves as the negotiating arm for the companies, will meet July 30 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. The current Basic Crafts three-year deal expires July 31. Union members gave negotia-tors a unanimous strike authorization vote in a meeting Sunday.

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 current 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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