Monday, April 07, 2008

Let the Negotiations Begin ...

Later this morning, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes (and affiliated crafts) commences negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

This sit-down will be a trifle early as these things go; the current contract doesn't expire until the middle of next year. But since hammering out new agreements seems to be all the rage, that's what the parties will be doing.

With SAG waiting in the wings to start its contract talks, the majors will begin three days of negotiations today with the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical & Stage Employees. The below-the-line union is expected to emerge Wednesday with a new contract -- even though its current deal doesn’t expire for another 16 months.

... Neither IATSE nor the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers would comment on the IATSE negotiations, first disclosed a month ago (Daily Variety, March 3). But it would be a surprise if the talks don’t lead to a deal, which will cover about 25,000 below-the-line employees in 18 West Coast locals. IATSE topper Thomas Short has indicated to associates he’ll come in with a focused proposal ...

I've seen the focused proposal, but I'm keeping my yap shut about it until the bargaining parties hammer out a new agreement (2009-2011) and roll out their own press release.

'Round about 9:30 this A.M., all the locals in the bargaining unit will be assembling in the caucus room at the new AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks. TAG will be there, even though we're not in the unit (we were thrown out in 1985; it's a long, involved story with which I won't bore you). All we've been for the past twenty-three years is an interested observer rather than a participant. Since the final package impacts TAG in a major way, we will be in attendance.

I expect that the back-and-forth will be energetic, obviously I'll know more later this afternoon ... and Tuesday ... and Wednesday.

7 comments:

mohare said...

I would like to know the long, involved story. Since you brought it up, please elaborate when you have the opportunity.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know why my guild was kicked out of the bargaining unit as well.

Anonymous said...

Gee, it's so nice to know that I'm in a union that has no say.

I'm pro union - I'm just not pro this union.

Anonymous said...

The best is when you're an animation writer -- then you're the nonentity member of the nonentity guild.

Steve Hulett said...

I would like to know the long, involved story. Since you brought it up, please elaborate when you have the opportunity.

So here's my chance:

In 1979, TAG went on strike. (We won, gaining protections against run-away production.)

In 1982, TAG went on strike again. (We lost, losing protections against run-away production.)

In 1985, the AMPTP decided we were too uppity for its taste (we went on strike too much) and kicked us out of the bargaining unit.

Our mother international chose not to fight our banishment very hard, the result being that we were (and are) now outside the bargaining unit.

These things occurred while I was an animation writer at Disney and only peripherally involved with the guild, like hardly at all. (In 1985 I was TAG vice president, and very green in the ways of unionism.)

But this has had good points to it, such as:

1) We can organize animation studios without having to drag the entire bargaining unit along with us (if you're INSIDE the unit, you see, when you attempt to organize a company, the organizing includes the other 24 IA locals inside the bargaining unit, not just TAG. This often complicates the organizing effort and -- sometimes -- dooms it to failure.)

2) We were able to initate a 401(k) Plan, something we would have been unable to do inside the bargaining unit. (This has been a boon for many of our members, as we're one of the few IA locals with a 401(k) plan and the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan.)

3) It's helped us to maintain our independent status as "The Animation Guild," since it's difficult to merge us with some other IA union inside the bargaining unit.

On the negative side, we've had to fight like hell by ourselves to maintain conditions in the contract. By and large, we've been fairly successful, but it's wearing.

Steve Hulett said...

The best is when you're an animation writer -- then you're the nonentity member of the nonentity guild.

Oooh ... Snap!

(Top quality snark, though.)

mohare said...

Thank you for the info, Steve. It is unfortunate. As a person working in animation, I've never felt uppity in the pecking order of Hollywood. But everything's relative, isn't it? Again, thank you.

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