Hollywood’s Iatse Votes to Ratify Its New Contract, but Controversy Remains

Despite having lost a popular vote, the union that represents Hollywood’s behind-the-scenes workers marginally passed a new three-year agreement with major studio owners on Monday.

The agreement comes just a month after talks nearly deteriorated into the industry’s largest strike since World War II and has been deteriorating since then but now various measures are being taken to amend this.

The new contract from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees raises wages for some of Hollywood’s lowest-paid employees, mandates longer weekend rest periods, and extends a controversial agreement that sets lower payouts for certain “new media” streaming productions, such as shows created for Apple TV Plus.

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However, owing to a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios and newer firms like Netflix and Amazon, the pay difference between streaming and traditional Hollywood films and series has decreased.

Hollywood’s Iatse
Hollywood’s Iatse

Many in the business have objected to the two-tiered strategy, claiming that streaming has become a mainstream model that does not deserve lowered rates.

The union announced on Monday that the contract had been ratified by delegates by a vote of 256 to 188. However, the proposal was rejected by 50.4 percent of members who represent the public vote. The popular vote does not directly determine the final results, as it does in American politics.

Democratic Process Is Important for Making the Balance

The elections will certainly bring attention to the union’s electoral rules, which allocate delegates to locals depending on membership size. Members of the IATSE also passed a new Area Standards Agreement, which provides similar standards for smaller production centers like Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Members enthusiastically supported the deal, with 52 percent of eligible workers voting.

This has been a democratic process to achieve the best contracts from start to finish, from planning to ratification,” stated IATSE International President Matthew Loeb. “The contentious argument, large turnout, and close election indicate that we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to form a movement,” he continued.

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The fundamental contract for IATSE members was at stake, a 49-page agreement that regulated minimum pay, meal breaks, and funding for workers’ pension and health-care plans. It also provides safety guidelines for the business, which is known for long hours and even deaths on set.

The Agreement Has Helped the Employees to Make Them Productive

The IATSE-AMPTP agreement comprised increased financial contributions to IATSE employees’ retirement and health plans, as well as new diversity and inclusion efforts. Despite this, many IATSE members believe the agreement does not go far enough in terms of improving minimum wages. Under the deal, some crew members will still work 14-hour days with little respite.

AMPTP’s lawyers represent AT&T, Comcast, and Viacom, tech, and media corporations that own WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, and Paramount, respectively, in addition to Apple, Netflix, Disney, and Amazon.

Despite the fact that the trade group includes small industry players, the combined market capitalization of these seven corporations now exceeds $5 trillion.

The IATSE pushed camera technicians, editors, set builders, makeup artists, and other members to support a contract with AMPTP, and voting lasted from Friday morning to midnight Sunday.

In the end, 72 percent of eligible members voted over the weekend, a decrease in turnout from the union’s October election. For more such entertainment updates, keep following us.

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