UPDATED with Matthew Loeb’s full message to membership: IATSE has told its members that ongoing negotiations with the AMPTP for a new film and TV contract are “fluid” and that members should “disregard any information you read in the press as it is not necessarily an accurate representation of what is actually occurring.”
Last weekend, the union’s members voted resoundingly – over 98% – to authorize IATSE president Matthew Loeb to call a strike if the talks fail to produce a fair agreement. After the strike-authorization vote, Loeb said that the members “have spoken loud and clear. This vote is about the quality of life as well as the health and safety of those who work in the film and television industry. Our people have basic human needs like time for meal breaks, adequate sleep, and a weekend. For those at the bottom of the pay scale, they deserve nothing less than a living wage.”
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said Monday that it “remains committed to reaching an agreement that will keep the industry working. We deeply value our IATSE crew members and are committed to working with them to avoid shutting down the industry at such a pivotal time, particularly since the industry is still recovering from the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. A deal can be made at the bargaining table, but it will require both parties working together in good faith with a willingness to compromise and to explore new solutions to resolve the open issues.”
Here’s the union’s latest update, dated Oct. 8, and posted on the website of IATSE Grips Local 80 — followed by Loeb’s full message to IATSE members:
“As the details of the Basic Agreement negotiations are fluid and are subject to change from moment to moment, the 13 Hollywood locals have agreed to keep the details of the process in the bargaining room for strategic purposes. We understand that there is a great demand for updates and details on the negotiations, and when the time is appropriate, those communications will come directly from the bargaining committee.
“For now, the negotiators for both sides need the room to maneuver at the bargaining table. In the interim, please disregard any information you read in the press as it is not necessarily an accurate representation of what is actually occurring.
“We will continue to meet again tomorrow (Friday) in an effort to reach an agreement. All specific details of the negotiation will be made available to you, the members, just as soon as they are agreed to by both sides and can be released.”
Dear sisters and brothers,
“A quick update on negotiations as of Thursday, October 7, 12:30 pm.
“We after our overwhelming strike authorization vote which was supported be 99.3% of Local 80 members voting, we returned to the bargaining table on Tuesday. Throughout the bargaining sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday some progress was made, but we are still far apart on some of the key issues.
“Although we have made the progress that is needed, it is clear that the solidarity shown by our members is what made the employers recognize how serious we are.
“Your Union is committed to continue to negotiate to get the contract that our members deserve, but we cannot, and will not allow the employers to just drag out the process without meaningful and real movement on their part.
“At some point a decision will be made on whether the negotiations are moving well enough to continue the talks, or whether it is time to take action.
“Are we at that point yet? NO we are not.
“Will the employers be allowed to string us along? NO.
“Are we at the point where we call upon our members to put down their tools and take a stand? Not right now.
“If we need to ask our members to take that stand, are we ready? Yes we are.
“Are more meetings scheduled? Yes. We will be meeting with the employers this afternoon. We are willing and able to meet deep into the night if it gets us to where we need to be.
“If there is a strike, will the members be notified beforehand? Yes. We will be giving our members as much notification as possible without losing any leverage that we now enjoy.
“Over the last couple of days the meetings with the employers have produced some movement. There is still a long way to go, and I’m hopeful that we will get there, but it has proven to be difficult, if not impossible to figure out exactly how serious the employers are on adequately addressing our priorities.
“I would like to address the matter of a strike being called. A strike will be called only after the negotiation process has broken down and it is apparent that the employers will not move any further unless absolutely forced too. We are not there at this moment. Please bear in mind that this is a very fluid situation and things can change at any moment. We are all hopeful that we can come to an agreement that can be recommended to the membership for ratification.
“On the matter of ratification, it is important that to remind ourselves that any agreement that is reached will be brought to the members for a ratification vote.”