From the Prez:
... Our goals going into these negotiations have been met. We were successful in maintaining the pensions of our retirees. We achieved wage increases in each year of the agreement of 2%. The health and pension benefits that we have worked so hard for over the years have been protected and will not be reduced. As you are aware, our benefit plans faced a staggering shortfall that threatened the stability of our pension and health plans. We have closed that shortfall with an impact on the participants that is as minimal as possible. The MPIPHP will continue to provide the best health benefits in the industry with no premium for you, the member. For participants with one dependent the premium will be $25 per month and for those participants with 2 or more dependents in the MPIPHP the premium will be $50 per month, payable quarterly. The employers have agreed to a $1 per hour increase to the Health Plan contribution which is a 20% increase over the current hourly contribution rate of $5 per hour.
In exchange for closing the deficit of over $400 million and annual wage increases of 2% in each year, we agreed to an expansion of the Studio Zone consistent with other industry unions and guilds. Productions made for home video will be budget based and we agreed to confirm our long standing practice of promoting basic cable TV production in Los Angeles. We also agreed to re-allocate thirty and one-half cents per hour from the Individual Account Plan to the Active Health Plan in order to help stabilize that plan during this national health care crisis. Moneys have been moved from health to IAP in the past and it was necessary to do this to rebalance contributions since the health plan is now suffering.
These negotiations lasted over three weeks and broke off once, due to disagreement on the premium structure. The second round of negotiations has resulted in a fair deal that will provide employment stability, protect our health and pension plans and provide for wage increases in a fragile economy. The Bargaining Committee consisted of the committees of each of the West Coast Studio Local Unions, Officers and Representatives of the IA, attorneys, and pension and healthcare experts. The committee was unanimous in its support for this tentative agreement. I would like to thank each of them for their commitment to act on your behalf in participating in these negotiations.
More specific details of the agreement will be forthcoming and as soon as specific contract language is drafted this agreement will be sent to the members for ratification. ...
What I took away from these negotiations is the number of BIG changes the employers wanted from the local unions in the bargaining unit*. The talks over health and pension didn't get rolling until the end of the week they were supposed to have happened.
There were a number of late-night sessions, and the talks weren't easy. But then, they never are. As always, the issue at the bottom (and middle, and top) of the proposals was money.
I talked to a studio rep today who said "work would be going away" on the live-action side because the unions didn't give the employers more "flexibility." I guess we'll have to wait a year or three to see if work actually does vanish, and the Motion Picture Industry Health and Pension Plan takes in fewer hourly contributions. Could happen, but I've heard the "work will leave!" complaint for decades, so put me in the "trust but check it out" column.
* TAG is an observer at these talks, not a participant. We were tossed out of the bargaining unit thirty years ago ... for being uppity.