Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pattern Bargaining

The Directors Guild of America, true to its nature, has negotiated its latest contract early and ratified its contract early.

The DGA membership on Tuesday ratified a new motion picture and television deal with the AMPTP. ... The tentative deal was reached last month and endorsed by the union’s board. ...

This follows the recent SAG and AFTRA deal that saw annual wage-minimum increases of 2%, bigger company kick-ins to the pension and health plans (an agenda item that is high on every guild's wish list), and the usual give and take in other corners of the contracts.

But also true to its nature, the Writers Guild of America is getting aggressive about its oncoming contract.

... [T]he WGA may not schedule negotiations until March and engage in a brinksmanship strategy in order to seek improvements in areas that SAG/AFTRA did not, such as certain new media and basic cable provisions. ... An ambitious “Pattern of Demands” – an outline of negotiating priorities – is out to WGA members ...

The WGA is working to break through the hardening concrete that SAG-AFTRA and DGA deals have set up. Good luck with that. Come Springtime, the writers will negotiate into the dark hours of the morning and likely come away with ... the same package every other union has achieved. Because the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers isn't in the habit of giving more jams and jellies to one labor organization than it hands to another. There will be minor differences from deal to deal, but the pattern will remain pretty much the same:

* 2% wage bumps.

* More money into pension and health plans.

* Horse trading on smaller contract points.

The IATSE, with a basic agreement that ends the summer of 2012, will be the last entertainment union sitting down at the long, Alliance table. And the odds are good it will get the same rice pudding that has been spooned out to everyone else. ("Please sir, may I have some more?" will not meet with a positive response.)


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