479 NEWS

Local 479 Supports Solidarity in Negotiations

From the Desk of Michael Akins, Business Agent

In the past, the IA has completed contract negotiations long before their expiration dates, and so it is understandable for members to have more concerns this time around as deadlines approach and negotiations are still under way for both the Hollywood Basic contract and the Area Standards Agreement. If the IATSE determines that a strike is necessary in order to assure the eventual outcome of a fair and decent contract, then all IATSE motion picture locals will be called upon to take a strike authorization vote. However, their goal is to avoid that and agree on a contract that will assure safety and security for IA members and their families.

Today, the IATSE and the AMPTP enter into their third round of negotiations for the Hollywood Basic Contract, which covers the west coast locals, including the Cinematographer’s Guild (Local 600), the Editor’s Guild (Local 700), and the Art Director’s Guild (Local 800), as well as the individual studio mechanics locals (44, 80, 728, 729, etc.). The main sticking points in the talks center on funding for the MPI Pension Plan as well as wages, conditions, and quality of life issues. It is important to distinguish that the MPI Pension Plan associated with the Basic Agreement is different than our Pension Plan, which is through the National Benefits Fund.   The National Benefits Fund Pension Plan is funded differently than the MPI Pension Fund. Even though the Hollywood Basic Contract does not cover Local 479, the Basic contract negotiations do have an effect on the ASA negotiations. The quality of life issues, such as increased turnaround, and wage increases will set the stage for the ASA talks, which are slated for their second round of negotiations on August 20th and 21st. Our members should be aware that the current Area Standards Agreement has been extended until the beginning of September, with the condition that the new agreement, once ratified, will be retroactive to July 31, when our current agreement was supposed to expire. Make no mistake – we, the IA, are one. We cannot allow the employer to divide us.

We are in contact with the west coast, and the IA is keeping us apprised of the ongoing negotiations. Even with time running out and the expiration of the Basic Agreement drawing near, we still believe that both sides can come to an agreement. Most everyone remains positive and believes that inducing fear of a strike in their membership is not a way to promote solidarity. President Loeb is committed to the IA’s priorities, and has presented our terms with firmness and clarity, which is evident by his willingness to walk away from an unfair deal.