Matthew Loeb, president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, has blistered Cathy Repola, national executive director of the editors guild, amid an escalating fight over the proposed IATSE master contract.
Leaders of 12 of the 13 West Coast IATSE locals have backed the new three-year tentative agreement with studios and networks. Leaders of Editors Guild Local 700 and Repola have strongly opposed the deal, saying that it fell short on provisions for turnaround time, funding for the pension plan, and new media residuals from shows aired on streaming services.
It’s a rare instance of dissension within IATSE, which usually presents a united front. The 13 locals represent about 40,000 below-the-line members in the Western area of the country.
Attorneys representing Local 700 have alleged that Loeb threatened Repola during a recent executive board meeting because she recommended that her members reject the proposed contract. Loeb sent a letter to Repola Thursday that accused her local of not having elected officers or bargaining unit members present for the negotiations and said she appears to be favoring employers over employees in her comments, added that she appears to have breached her duties as a director of the union’s pension and health plan.
“Your ongoing propaganda campaign is born of motivations beyond the interests of the membership,” he said. “An activity which is selfish, divisive and irresponsible.”
Repola responded by saying, “I grew up in an IATSE household and have been a devoted union member for over 35 years. In spite of what the IATSE leadership is indicating, it is my core belief that speaking up on behalf of issues that adversely affect the Local 700 membership is not only a right, but my primary responsibility as the National Executive Director.”
IATSE will be sending out the proposed contract, which includes a 3% hike in annual wage minimums, to delegates next month. The current deal expired July 31.
Read Loeb’s letter below.
I want to address a number of serious and troubling matters arising from your statements and certain activities surrounding the recently concluded negotiations
Local 700 was the one of 13 IATSE present in the negotiations that had no elected officers or bargaining unit members present for the general negotiations. This raises a number of concerns. Most importantly, no working members of 700 had access to the actual facts, developments and proposals, which you have repeatedly skewed. furthermore, you entered these negotiations acting with authority reserved only for democratically elected union officials under the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act and in so doing violated federal labor law.
You have repeatedly complained (including at the recent General Executive Board meeting – in open sesssion) about Local 700 member owned companies paying their fair share of contributions to the Motion Picture Industry Health and Pension Plans (MPIHPP). The additional $0.75 per hour in each year of the new agreement from companies that do not meet the residual threshold of $15 million will shore up funding of the plans, securing a dignified retirement for our members. Your public complaints to such a provision are antithetical to the principals of trade unionism. I urge you to consider who you are supporting — employers or members. Not only is your position a conflict of interest, it is likely a breach of your duties as a Director of the MPIPHP.
Your ongoing propaganda campaign is born of motivations beyond the interests of the membership. An activity which is selfish, divisive and irresponsible.
Matthew D. Loeb