Animation contract talks break down

Contract for Animation Guild, AMPTP expires July 31

The initial round of contract talks between Hollywood union animators and producers have broken down after three days, three months before the current deal expires on July 31.

The Animation Guild, which reps about 2,000 animators through Local 839 of the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, did not disclose when the negotiations for a new three-year deal will resume.

A spokesman for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers had no comment, noting that the talks have been taking place under a news blackout. Steven Hulett, business representative for the local, disclosed the breakdown of talks in a blog posting, saying, “This morning we broke off the negotiations, as we are far apart with the producers and there didn’t appear to be any simple way to bridge the yawning chasm.”

IATSE and the AMPTP agreed last week to a new three-year master contract that will, if ratified, cover more than 20,000 members of 15 other West Coast locals.

IATSE president Matthew Loeb asserted that the new West Coast deal resolves the problem of an anticipated funding shortfall of over $400 million in the union’s pension and health plans via a $1 per hour increase to the health plan contribution by employers, up 20% over the current rate of $5 per hour. In exchange, IATSE agreed to the first-ever premiums for health plan coverage — $25 per month for participants with one dependent and $50 for those with two or more dependents.

Local 839 is also in the midst of an organizing campaign at Sony Pictures Imageworks and will hold a meeting Friday at the Culver Hotel.

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