Hawaii union OKs pay cutbacks

Local 399 lowers rates, high cost of filming caused loss of film/tv biz

HONOLULU — In a major policy change designed to help Hawaii’s film and TV union employees get more work, Los Angeles-based Teamsters’ Local 399 has voluntarily decided to reduce its pay scale about 23% for cable, syndicated, and made-for-TV productions.

Though the same rate scale already is in force in Hollywood, this is the first time it’s been allowed in another area, said Leo Reed, Local 399 secretary-treasurer.

Hawaii frequently loses productions to Australia, Puerto Rico, Florida and Mexico due to higher costs of filming. The wage compromise could mean saving hundreds of thousands of dollars for the usual 22-episode season, especially if the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees OKs the proposal.

Al Burns, IATSE business manager in Hawaii, will urge his members at a meeting later this month to adopt the Teamsters’ lower rate scale for special productions.Teamsters offer three contracts to producers depending on the type and scope of the production with the telefilm contract the least expensive. The agreement allows a 15% discount in wages below that of the feature film rate, and an additional 8% off because there’s no allocations for vacation or holiday pay.

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