Hollywood crews, studios reach tentative contract deal, making another big strike unlikely

The union that represents most behind-the-scenes film and television crews has reached a tentative deal with studios for about 50,000 of its members, making another major, production-stopping strike unlikely after a year of labor turmoil in Hollywood.

The two sides announced the three-year deal in a joint statement Tuesday night.

The union, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, said in an email to members, who still must vote to approve the deal, that the agreement includes the pay hikes and artificial intelligence protections they had been vying for.

The contract, known as the Basic Agreement, affects about 50,000 crew members who belong to 13 different West Coast-based union locals, including art directors, set painters, editors, camera technicians, costume designers, hair stylists and make-up artists.

A separate agreement that affects about 20,000 crew members across the country is still under negotiation.

Last year’s grueling writers’ and actors’ strikes, and 2021 IATSE talks that went well past the contract’s expiration and nearly spilled into a strike, had raised fears that 2024 would bring more work stoppages in an industry that still hasn’t gotten entirely back to work after being shut down for much of 2023.

Actors including Mark Ruffalo and Kerry Washington sent a letter to the AMPTP last week urging a fair contract for crews.

Several individual branches had already reached separate agreements on the issues unique to them. The Basic Agreement affects crew members across different jobs.

IATSE reached Tuesday night’s deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios, streaming services and production companies including Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery and Amazon Prime. It’s the same alliance that struggled to reach a deal with writers and actors during prolonged strikes last year. But the tentative Basic Agreement agreement comes nearly a month before the previous contract expired.

The letter to IATSE members said more details on the tentative deal will be released later in the week, but it “includes new protections around Artificial Intelligence, including language that ensures no employee is required to provide AI prompts in any manner that would result in the displacement of any covered employee.”

It also includes scale rate increases of 7%, 4%, and 3.5% over the three-year term, triple time for workers who surpass 15 hours in a day, and payments from studios to help make up for a shortfall in the union’s health insurance budget, the letter said.

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