×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

West Coast IATSE Talks to Resume as Contract Expiration Looms

The West Coast members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — Hollywood’s key below-the-line union — are returning to the bargaining table on Tuesday, only a week prior to the current contract’s expiration.

IASTE has held two rounds of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, one in early April and the most recent on June 26 to June 29. The negotiations are for a successor deal to the current three-year master contract covering 13 Hollywood locals, including Cinematographers Guild Local 600, Editors Guild Local 700, and Art Directors Guild Local 800. In total, the contract covers more than 43,000 employees.

The current deal expires on July 31. Key issues that have emerged in the talks have included continued funding for the union’s pension plan and safety issues, including excessive hours.

The AMPTP did not respond to a request for comment. The negotiations have been taking place under a news blackout.

The IATSE usually reaches an agreement with AMPTP long before expiration so the fact that negotiations remain open has been interpreted as a sign of the difficulty of reaching a compromise amid profound changes in how the entertainment business operates. In 2015, IATSE reached a tentative agreement more than three months prior to expiration.

Popular on Variety

But negotiations appear to be growing tougher. For example, the Writers Guild of America reached its deal last year on a successor contract less than an hour before its contract expired and SAG-AFTRA reached its agreement on a successor contract three days after expiration.

Members of Local 700 have been active in showing solidarity during the hiatus. More than 1,800 attended a meeting on July 21 at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Los Angeles and a July 17 meeting in New York City drew 300 members, according to a report in Cinemontage, the official journal of the local. Additionally, the local’s Facebook page, “I Am the Union,” has more than 3,000 members.

Local 700 president Alan Heim accused the AMPTP of being unfair in the article.

“This is the first time in my many years as a union member that I feel the studios are not dealing in good faith,” Heim said. “They are denying us the same funding plan offered to the DGA, SAG, and the WGA. Why are the studios attempting to minimize our pension and health plan?”

A source close to the talks told Variety that the companies have indicated that they are supportive of providing the funding needed to keep the health and pension plan viable.

The issue of long hours was highlighted by the 1997 death of camera assistant Brent Hershman, who was killed in a traffic accident on his way home from a 19-hour day on the set of “Pleasantville,” and the 2014 death of transportation driver Gary Joe Tuckman, who died after falling asleep at the wheel following an 18-hour work day on the set of “Longmire.”

In 2015, the West Coast unions reached the current deal with the AMPTP with annual wage and pension increases; no cuts or increased costs to the participants of the health plan; and “substantial improvements” in working conditions for new media productions.

The editors, cinematographers, and art directors are part of national IATSE locals. The other locals include Property Craftspersons (Local 44), Costume Designers (Local 892), Make Up Artists & Hair Stylists (Local 706), Motion Picture Costumers (Local 705), Motion Picture Studio Electrical Lighting Technicians (Local 728), Motion Picture Studio Grips, Crafts Service, Set Medics, Marine and Warehouse Workers (Local 80), Motion Picture Set Painters & Sign Writers (Local 729), Motion Picture Studio Teachers and Welfare Workers (Local 884), Production Sound Technicians, Television Engineers, Video Assist Technicians and Studio Projectionists (Local 695), and Script Supervisors/Continuity, Coordinators, Accountants & Allied Production Specialists Guild (Local 871).

More Film

  • Jumanji The Next Level

    Box Office: 'Jumanji 2' Kicks Off Overseas With $52 Million as 'Frozen 2' Powers Toward $1 Billion

    Disney’s “Frozen 2” skated past international box office competition again as the animated sequel propels toward the billion-dollar mark globally. “Frozen 2” generated another $90 million from 48 foreign territories, boosting its worldwide weekend haul to $124.9 million. After three weekends in theaters, Disney’s musical follow-up has made $919.7 million and should cross $1 billion [...]

  • Lily James

    Lily James Delivers Masterclass in Charm in Macao

    British actor, Lily James delivered a masterclass in charm and good humor at a seminar on Sunday at the International Film Festival and Awards Macao. Questioned on stage by one of the festival’s senior programmers, James brightly chatted her way through eight years of a screen career that has taken her from “Downton Abbey” to [...]

  • Avengers Endgame Lion King Frozen 2

    Disney Crushes Own Global Box Office Record With Historic $10 Billion

    Thanks to a record number of billion-dollar blockbusters, Disney has become the first studio in history to surpass $10 billion at the worldwide box office. Through Sunday, the studio has generated $3.28 billion in North America and $6.7 billion overseas for a global haul of $9.997 billion and is expected to officially cross the benchmark [...]

  • Takashi Miike

    Miike Takashi's Unusual Takes on Feminism and China

    Takashi Miike chuckles when you ask him if he’d called himself a feminist. “Maybe I’m not exactly, because when I use the word as a man, it feels like it might be condescending, or anti-woman,” he told Variety on the sidelines of the International Film Festival and Awards Macao, where his latest feature, the high-octane [...]

  • FAMILIAR FACE -- In Walt Disney

    Box Office: 'Frozen 2' Remains Victorious, 'Playmobil' Bombs

    “Frozen 2” dominated box office charts for the third weekend in a row as Disney’s animated sequel scored another $34.7 million in North America. Those ticket sales, a 60% decline from its massive Thanksgiving haul, boost its domestic tally to $337 million. “Frozen 2” earned $130 million in its inaugural outing and another $123 million [...]

  • Macao Project Market Participants

    ‘Dear Wormwood’ Claims Macao Project Market Prize

    Philippines director Dodo Dayao’s supernatural horror project “Dear Wormwood” claimed the top prize on Sunday at the IFFAM Project Market, part of the ongoing International Film Festival & Awards Macao. “Wormwood” is a tale of five women living together in a remote house in the forest, where a mystery illness strikes one of the quintet, [...]

  • International Film Festival and Awards Macao

    Macao Industry Debate: Streaming Not Done Reshaping Indie Film Business

    New viewing habits brought on by the rise of streaming have hastened the demise of the mid-budget American indie, changed the very definition of arthouse cinema, and shaken the indie distribution business. But theatrical is still here to stay, attendees of the Macao International Film Festival’s closed-door industry panels concluded Saturday. Panelists gathered to discuss [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content