Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hollywood Crew Deal Ratified

As expected, the membership of IATSE, the union representing Hollywood crew members, ratified that organization’s proposed contract with the studios yesterday, although not without significant opposition. The new contract takes effect August 1 and runs for three years, as is usual with Hollywood labor agreements. It includes 3% annual wage increases.

The deal had been opposed by some members, who cited rollbacks in the healthcare plan, as well as concerns regarding new media. However, IA President Matthew D. Loeb remarked, “We feel we have given our members the best protection we can at a time when the bottom is falling out of a lot of traditional business models.”

Unofficial partial ballot totals posted on the No campaign’s web site showed a wide difference of opinion from local to local, with opposition ranging from 20% to 45% among the 7 locals for which data was available. Turnout was unclear from the figures. The 15 Hollywood-based IATSE locals covered by the contract encompass over 35,000 members.

Meanwhile, the Screen Actors Guild is still in stalemate with the studios, with no evident movement. In NY, negotiations between SAG and AFTRA jointly with the advertising industry continue this weekend. SAGWatch quotes a source reporting “some progress,” which contrasts with indications earlier in the week. That contract expires in ten days.

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