Some IATSE members blast contract deal, vow to vote no

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021
IATSE members blast contract deal for unresolved issues
A tentative deal reached between a TV and film production union and producers may have prevented an industry-wide shutdown, but many union members are now saying they will not ratify the deal.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A possible strike by the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, IATSE, may have been averted when contract negotiators for the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers reached a tentative agreement over the weekend, but many IATSE members are now saying they will not ratify the deal.

Both sides had been in talks since May, trying to iron out an agreement. On Saturday, IATSE announced a tentative deal with the producers, but has released few details. Many IATSE members feel the negotiators did not demand enough from the producers.

"If that's what they're offering and that's what they think is a deal, then I think that membership will reject it," said Rowan Byers, an eight-year IATSE member with Local 80. He is one of many IATSE members unhappy with how union leaders are handling negotiations.

IATSE was seeking pay increases for its lowest paid members, new protections for meal breaks and rest periods as well as pay scale increases on streaming projects, which currently offer lower wages.

RELATED: Strike dodged with deal between film and TV crews, studios

After days of marathon negotiations, representatives from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees reached the three-year contract agreement before a Monday strike deadline.

IATSE represents more than 60,000 so-called "below the line'' workers such as production coordinators, grips and technicians. Some members say the union has unprecedented leverage right now and needs to flex its muscles, perhaps still with a strike.

"It doesn't satisfy the requirements of most of the rank and file members in terms of getting the compensation and treatment that we feel we deserve," said Byers. "This agreement doesn't truly represent the feelings of the people who have our boots on the ground here at the studios. People out here felt like we could have gotten more."

Eyewitness News reached out to IATSE for comment, but did not hear back before publishing this article.

Members most likely won't vote on the agreement for a several weeks as attorneys hash out the deal and write it up as a legal contract.