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IATSE contract discussions are shifting to heavier issues such as wages, AI and residuals




IATSE contract discussions are shifting to heavier issues such as wages, AI and residuals

IATSE negotiators are bracing for the next phase of contract negotiations with Hollywood’s major studios and streamers following the conclusion this week of talks with all 13 West Coast local unions on the craft-specific aspects of a new master contract.

On Monday, IATSE and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers will shift the focus of negotiations to wages, residuals, working conditions and the use of artificial intelligence in production. Those are the thornier issues that need to be addressed for the union that represents the vast majority of workers in the TV and film industries.

IATSE International president Matthew Loeb has said his goal is to have the new three-year contract ratified by members before the current agreement expires on July 31. After last year’s months-long strikes by Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA, the industry is nervously watching the IATSE talks. There is hope of avoiding another industry shutdown as the parties began the negotiation process in early March, giving them plenty of room to discuss the tough issues without the added pressure of a ticking clock.

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Matthew Miller, vice president of IATSE International, put a positive spin on the atmosphere so far in the negotiating room at AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks. It stands in contrast to last year’s contentious WGA and SAG-AFTRA talks, which IATSE leaders observed in preparation for their time at the table.

“The trade-specific issues facing our local population required employers’ attention, and we are seeing improved engagement and dialogue at the table,” said Miller. “That indicates that studio negotiators have different marching orders this contract cycle. This approach will be useful as we continue our negotiations
the coming weeks.”

On Friday, IATSE confirmed that Affiliated Property Craftspersons Local 44 reached a preliminary agreement with AMPTP on April 25. Studio Teachers, IATSE Local 884, reached a tentative agreement on April 19. This completes the list of 13 local residents who have reached preliminary agreements on issues. that are specific to their field. Next up is the formal Basic Agreement General Negotiations, scheduled to begin April 29 and run through May 16. That contract covers approximately 40,000 employees across the 13 local residents of the West Coast.

Negotiations on the IATSE Area Standards Agreement will run from May 20 to 31. That agreement covers about 20,000 employees in 23 locales across the country, excluding New York, but including almost every other location where TV shows and movies are produced.

IATSE leaders have so far kept the saber-rattling to a minimum, despite deep anxiety over the talks in an industry eager to avoid another grueling work stoppage. But the stakes are high, and there is pressure on Loeb and Miller to deliver strong contract wins for union members who are integral to the TV and film production process. In its negotiation update message to members, IATSE reminded members of the need to show determination and solidarity.

“IATSE continues its call for ALL film and TV sisters, brothers and relatives, and the broader labor movement to join #OneFightFridays, and wear union swag every Friday for the remainder of the negotiations to strengthen our power and unity over the to visually demonstrate the whole world. country,” the message said.