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Thursday, June 20, 2024

IATSE Remains “Hopeful” About Finalizing Basic Agreement

IATSE is still chipping away at a new three-year deal with the studios, even as the union’s scheduled bargaining days dwindle.

The union revealed over the weekend that talks on the Area Standards Agreement, which were scheduled to conclude by Friday, will continue later this month. The union is now taking the week to shift the focus back to the Basic Agreement and is trying to iron out those details by Wednesday.

“Tone is positive, but I wouldn’t say it’s been as productive as people had hoped,” an executive looped into the negotiations tells Deadline. “Lots of going round and round on wages, still a gulf between our side and theirs.”

Deadline understands that wage increases and job security have been the main sticking points in talks, both of which have become higher priority for IATSE members in recent years.

Below-the-line crew were hit hard by pandemic-related shutdowns followed by the work stoppages last year. Now, with the contraction in production the industry is currently experiencing, many of those workers are still not seeing any relief.

“The real negotiation is no one wants a strike, but we can’t seem to get all the pieces together for an agreement that works for everyone,” the exec added.

While it’s not the update members may have wanted, Deadline understands that those in the room remain “hopeful” that the parties will strike a deal — at least before the contracts expire on July 31.

IATSE has already made it very clear the union is not interested in extending its contract to accommodate further negotiations. Sources assured that this sentiment hasn’t changed.

One source tells Deadline that the union is focused on getting a deal “that members will want to ratify,” which might seem self explanatory but is actually a key point as to why talks are going slower than expected, given the backlash to the last contract. The 2021 agreement was ultimately ratified by a razor-thin margin.

Similar to the ASA, which covers 23 locals across the nation, Basic Agreement negotiations were not finished in the allotted time in May, which is why IATSE tacked on a few days this week to address any holes.

Deadline hears that it’s still up in the air whether the Basic Agreement will be finalized by June 5, which was supposed to be IATSE’s final scheduled day of negotiations before Teamsters Local 399 starts bargaining next week.

The two unions, along with the rest of the Hollywood Basic Crafts, have already been negotiating with the studios together on their joint benefit plans. The other guilds participating in these joint negotiations are the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 40 (IBEW), Laborers International Union of North America Local 724 (LiUNA!), United Association Plumbers Local 78 (UA) and Operating Plasterers & Cement Masons International Association (OPCMIA) Local 755.

Dominic Patten contributed to this report.

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