Vote in 87% favor of new deal

The Animation Guild has ratified a successor three-year deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers with 86.7% in favor.

The guild, which operates as Local 839 of the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, announced the ratification Friday after it had sent out mail ballots three weeks ago to the 2,600 members. The contract will be in effect retroactively from Aug. 1 to July 31, 2015.

“We’re gratified with the level of support this contract received,” business representative Steve Hulett said. “The contract talks were not easy, and the negotiation committee wondered at times if we would ever reach a conclusion.”

The guild, which reps artists, writers and technicians, walked out of talks in April after the companies proposed an increase in minimums of 2% for the first 18 months and 2% more in the following 18 months — or 33% less than recent comparable deals for other Hollywood unions. Negotiations restarted in June after a special membership meeting and survey of contract priorities.

The deal’s terms mirror other recent AMPTP pacts for unions with a 2% annual wage increase in minimum rates and gains in employer contributions to the health and pension plans similar to those reached in April under the terms of the IATSE Basic Agreement. That deal, which covers 17 West Coast IATSE locals with about 20,000 members, included $250 million in new employer contributions to the health plan.

When the deal was announced on April 13, IATSE president Matthew Loeb said it would resolve an anticipated funding shortfall of more than $400 million in the union’s pension and health plans. 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, or $75 and $150 per quarter, beginning next year, while those without dependents will continue not to pay premiums.

The Animation Guild said other provisions of its new agreement cover a new storyboard revisionist classification, changes to the talent development program and concessions in the DreamWorks Animation wage minimums.

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