IATSE told members on Tuesday that little progress has been made in recent negotiations on the basic agreement with the major studios, and that the two sides “remain very far apart.”
The basic agreement was set to expire on July 31, but has been extended to Sept. 10 to allow for further negotiations. The union’s 13 West Coast locals said that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers refuses to make additional concessions.
“We have made some progress, but the employers have indicated they have done all they need to do,” the locals told members.
The union has been pushing for greater funding for the pension and health plans. The two sides have largely reached agreement on an initiative to increase diversity in Hollywood’s below-the-line workforce.
In addition, the union is seeking various concessions on working conditions, especially to address the long production hours. In the letter, the union cited five “priority issues” that it has focused on at the bargaining table: “living wages, reasonable rest, meal breaks, sustainable benefits and streaming.”
“We are fighting for core union principles: a living wage for the lowest paid among us, health and safety for those members who suffer abuse working unsafe hours or days without breaks, and the fulfillment of an unkept promise to share streaming success,” the letter to members stated.
The union said it remained ready to bargain.
“However, if the employers refuse to engage in substantive negotiations, refuse to change the culture by managing the workflow, and refuse to put human interests before corporate profits, the failure to reach an agreement will be their choice,” the letter stated.
The last three-year contract was ratified in 2018.
At its international convention in July, IATSE agreed to conduct its first-ever membership census, to get a better sense of the demographics of the union. Many of the details have yet to be worked out, but the union aims to conduct the first census in the spring of 2022, and annually thereafter.
Negotiations with the AMPTP resumed on Aug. 17.