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Hollywood production workers avoid nationwide strike with tentative deal

IATSE had called for higher pay, larger contributions to health and pension plans, meal breaks and improved rest periods.
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Hollywood production workers across the country will not pick up their picket signs and strike after all — avoiding what could have been the industry’s biggest walkout since World War II.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE — which represents camera technicians, makeup artists, costume designers and more behind-the-scenes workers — came to a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or AMPTP, which represents major film and television production companies, on Saturday, said Jarryd Gonzales, spokesperson for the motion picture alliance.

Complete details of the agreement have not been released, but a statement posted to the IATSE website said several important goals were achieved. Those included improved working conditions and higher wages for the lowest earners, daily rest periods of 10 hours without exclusions, retroactive pay increases of 3 percent annually, expanded benefits and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

“This is a Hollywood ending,” IATSE International President Matthew Loeb said. “Our members stood firm. We are tough and united.”

The tentative agreement must be ratified by IATSE members.

Calling for higher pay, larger contributions to health and pension plans, meal breaks, improved rest periods and a bigger cut of profits from streaming juggernauts, IATSE announced its intention in late September to hold a strike authorization vote if negotiations failed. An overwhelming majority — or about 99 percent of the Hollywood union workers who cast a vote — voted Oct. 4 to authorize their union to call a strike.

The union's contract with AMPTP went into effect in 2018 and was set to expire July 31, but it was extended through Sept. 10. The tentative agreement with AMPTP was a major victory for the union after weeks of stalled contract talks.

“Our members will see significant improvements, but our employers also will benefit,” said Mike Miller, IATSE vice president and director of motion picture and television production. “This settlement allows pre-production, production and post-production to continue without interruption. Workers should have improved morale and be more alert. Health and safety standards have been upgraded.”

The potential strike drew nearly unanimous support from the public, including celebrities such as Mindy Kaling, Ryan Reynolds and Kerry Washington and U.S. Congress members such as Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

Solidarity rallies were also held across the country over the last few weeks ahead of the potential nationwide strike.

"Good for @IATSE for standing your ground. And don’t forget we got your back anytime you need us #IASolidarity," comedian Patton Oswalt said on Twitter.