Sunday, April 12, 2015


Tomorrow negotiations begin for the IATSE's Basic Agreement.

And what the hey is the "Basic Agreement?" One of the oldest and largest contracts held by the IA. One of the largest collective bargaining agreements in the motion picture and television industry. It covers 35,000 motion picture employees and 23 production locals here on the west coast. There is one big "bargaining unit" attached to this big contract, and it contains the Editors Guild, Cinematographers Guild, Costume Designers, Hair and Makeup, Grips, Electricians and numerous other IATSE unions and guilds.

But it doesn't include the guild representing animators, tech directors, writers, animation storyboard artists, assistants and everyone else working under a Local 839 agreement. TAG is not part of the unit, and hasn't been since 1982. This is because two back-to-back strikes thirty-six and thirty-three years ago got the guild thrown out of the group, and we've been on our own, negotiation-wise, ever since. ...

TAG now sits down to bargain its contract after every IA production local wraps their local talks and the International comes to an agreement on "the Basic." The same will be true this year. Even so, a Guild rep will be at the Monday-to-Friday negotiations because we're directly impacted by the bargaining that takes place over the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan. (The International negotiates Pension and Health, not TAG.)

Three years ago, the big issue in talks was funding the health plan. As the L.A. Times related:

... Under the proposed deal reached late last night, IATSE members would receive a 2% annual wage increase over three years — in line with raises negotiated by other entertainment unions. Employers agreed to a 20% increase in their hourly contribution to the union's health plan.

"Our goals going into these negotiations have been met," IATSE President Matt Loeb said in a statement. "We were successful in maintaining the pensions of our retirees." ...

This cycle, wages, new media and "quality of life" issues take precedence over pension and health contract points. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (the AMPTP) will bring its own list of proposals to the table, and five days are scheduled for the two sides to sit down and hash out what a new Basic Agreement looks like. (Hint: The agreement will most likely look a lot like the WGA, DGA, and SAG-AFTRA contracts that preceded it. The IA deal is the last collective bargaining agreement to be hashed out this cycle.)

I would get my knuckles rapped and my fanny paddled if I gave away details of the talks before they're concluded, so don't expect any news leakage from Yours Truly on this blog any day next week. But when there is an announcement made, you'll be able to read about it here.


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