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IATSE Members Approve New Contract By Razor-Thin Margin

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Thousands of Hollywood workers in the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union have approved a new contract, but only by a razor-thin margin.

The IATSE confirmed Monday that members approved a new three-year deal by a slim margin of just 50.3% voting yes, and 49.7% voting no. The deal was reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the group which represents all major film and television companies.

The IATSE reports that turnout for the ratification vote was 72%.

The IATSE represents Hollywood TV and film workers like editors, camera operators, set designers, grips, electricians, make-up artists and graphic artists across the U.S. and Canada. The IATSE has a membership of about 63,000, with an estimated 47,000 of those based in the L.A. area.

The ratification vote was conducted among the union's 13 locals on the West Coast, for the basic agreement, and with 23 locals elsewhere on the area standards agreement.

"From start to finish, from preparation to ratification, this has been a democratic process to win the very best contracts," said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb in a statement. "The vigorous debate, high turnout, and close election, indicates we have an unprecedented movement-building opportunity to educate members on our collective bargaining process and drive more participation in our union long-term."

After bargaining for months, the two sides reached a tentative deal in mid-October, just two days before IATSE members would have walked off the job in what would have been a historic strike that likely would have shut down Hollywood.

Issues at stake included higher pay, better working conditions, stronger benefits and residuals from streaming services.

The IATSE said the new deal includes retroactive wage increases of 3% annually, improvements in pay and conditions on streaming productions, observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and a rest period of 10 hours between daily shoots, and 54 hours on weekends.

The vote also followed about three weeks after the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the New Mexico set of the film "Rust," which sent shockwaves through the industry and also raised serious questions about safety and gun rules on film and television sets.

Some members had publicly said they would vote no, claiming the contract falls on short on providing basic safety measures. Last Thursday, about two dozen IATSE workers and supporters gathered outside the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood to express their opposition to the proposed contract. Some said it does not sufficiently improve working conditions, particularly in regard to long hours and on-set safety.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)


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