IATSE and AMPTP have concluded three days of productive negotiations on a new Hollywood Basic Agreement. The parties held extensive discussions on new media, minimums and the pension and health plans, including the impact of the 2006 Pension Protection Act on funding standards. IATSE and AMPTP have agreed to recess the negotiations to accommodate previously agreed-upon bargaining sessions with SAG and AFTRA. A news blackout will remain in effect until the conclusion of the negotiations.
"These talks have been extremely helpful in understanding the fundamental issues before us in an environment that has been conducive to bargaining," IATSE International President Thomas C. Short said. "We look forward to the resumption of negotiations with AMPTP and to securing a contract that will benefit our membership."
"We've covered a lot of ground in an opening round that's been both respectful and mutually beneficial," AMPTP President Nick Counter said. "We remain confident that we can build on the new economic partnership that we've reached with DGA, WGA and the AFTRA Network Code, enabling all of our creative and behind-the-scenes talent to share in the emerging new media revenue while giving the industry the flexibility needed to adapt and change in a challenging marketplace."
So why didn't the IA and AMPTP reach a deal?
It came down to time colliding with financial complexities. The 2006 "Pension Protection Act" -- a sparkly new Federal law -- set up a new (and different) set of benchmarks for multi-employer pension plans. This has meant that old pension calculations have to be replaced with new ones dictated by the '06 regulations. And the recalculating simply took more time than the negotiators permitted themselves.
That, I think, is the big reason an agreement wasn't struck yesterday. Everything else seems to be on track. My best estimate: a new contract will be wrapped up with a bow sometime in early summer.