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The 13 film and television locals of IATSE, consisting of 43,000 members and making up a majority of the West Coast crew, have voted to ratify a new three-year agreement with producers (AMPTP), ending the possibility of a strike that would have brought a temporary stop to Hollywood production. A majority of members in 12 of the 13 locals voted “Yes” to ratify a controversial contract that includes increases to wages and benefit funding, but the process included a contentious three months since a tentative agreement was reached July 26th.
The 2018-2021 contract includes $153 million in new health benefit funding, increases in turnaround (the rest break between wrap and the next day’s call time), and a new media residual that covers big-budget (over $30 million) movies made for Netflix and other subscription streaming services. Opposition to contract — which radiated from inside local 700, the Motion Picture Editor’s Guild, but spread through other locals — centered around the belief the contract did not go far enough to make up from the loss of residuals stemming the industry’s shift toward streaming-only content like Netflix Originals or protecting crew from long hours.
Step - IATSE - History - Majority - Members
In step with IATSE’s history, a majority of members in each local followed the recommendation of its leadership in how they voted, but the push toward ratification was far from business as usual. Since a tentative agreement was announced, IATSE President Matthew Loeb and the leaders of locals received unexpected blowback as members questioned the deal. Fearful that opposition of an engaged minority could dominate the vote of a traditionally unengaged union, IATSE’s efforts to get out the vote were unprecedented, launching a “vote yes” website, spending tens of thousands of dollars on mailers and targeted Facebook ads, and leadership actively visiting sets, sending emails, and making phone calls to prevent...
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