IATSE Reaches Deal on Area Standards Agreement, Setting Stage for National Ratification Vote

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The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees announced Tuesday that it has reached a deal on the Area Standards Agreement, the contract that governs film and TV production in places like Georgia, Louisiana and New Mexico.

The announcement sets the table for a nationwide ratification vote on both the Area Standards Agreement and the Basic Agreement, which together cover 60,000 film and TV crew members. That vote has not been scheduled, but should take place within a few weeks.

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IATSE reached a deal on the Basic Agreement on Oct. 16, which averted a nationwide strike that would have begun two days later. The deal includes a 54-hour weekend rest period, as well as 3% annual raises and increased meal penalties.

Many members have rallied against the deal online, however, saying it does not go far enough to protect workers from long production days with few breaks.

The Basic Agreement applies to 40,000 workers in 13 West Coast locals, including Local 600 and Local 700, the national guilds for camera operators and editors, respectively. The Area Standards Agreement applies to another 20,000 workers in 23 locals around the country, excluding New York but including nearly every other location where TV shows and films are produced.

The Area Standards Agreement tends to track closely with the terms of the Basic Agreement. The union did not release details of the new pact, other than to say that the lowest paid workers will see their wages rise to $26 an hour by the third year of the agreement, and all workers will see a 9% increase spread over three years — the same terms as the Basic Agreement. The deal also includes a provision for weekend rest.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which negotiated both agreements on behalf of the major studios, issued a terse statement confirming that the Area Standards Agreement had been reached.

“The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) have reached a tentative agreement on terms for a new three-year Area Standards Agreement,” the organization said. “At this time, no further details about the negotiation or the new tentative agreement will be shared.”

Matthew Loeb, the international president of IATSE, hailed the deal in a statement.

“We were able to achieve gains in all of our core areas,” he said. “Quality of life issues were at the top of our priority list. The protective terms we negotiated in this agreement and the agreement reached earlier establish a defined weekend with the studios for the first time. The two agreements incorporate stiff penalties for failing to provide meals and breaks. Taken together, the improvements we made at the bargaining table are very significant and directly due to the solidarity of our members.”

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