A major Hollywood union could vote soon on a deal for better streaming pay

By Catie Keck

IATSE members were planning to strike over working conditions Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Hollywood union representing tens of thousands of production workers will soon decide whether to ratify agreements that will, among other labor protections, enforce better pay from streaming services.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) announced Tuesday that it reached a tentative three-year “area standards” agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) that “delivers our members a fairer deal on streaming,” according to the union’s international president Matthew Loeb. AMPTP represents major Hollywood studios that include, among others, Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Disney, Paramount, and Warner Bros.

A spokesperson for the union told The Verge that lawyers are still working out details of the agreement, which could “take a few days.” After that, members will need time to review the terms. A vote should then be scheduled in the next few weeks, the spokesperson said.

The tentative deal reached this week will cover some 20,000 workers on productions in TV and film — including crew, artists, editors, and other behind-the-scenes roles — from 23 local unions across the US. Earlier this month, a tentative deal was reached for separate “basic” and “videotape” contracts that cover another 40,000 workers represented by 13 West Coast-based local unions that are part of IATSE.

That earlier agreement narrowly avoided a major Hollywood strike, which was supported nearly unanimously by the union’s members and would have had an industry-wide impact. The union’s members supported the strike authorization after negotiations stalled with AMPTP.

The proposed “area standards” agreement will improve pay “significantly” by up to 60 percent for its lowest-paid workers, according to the union. All members who operate under the new contracts will see their pay increase by a minimum of 9 percent over the three-year term. The proposed agreement also covers rest periods, breaks, wage terms, and payouts from streaming services.

“We were able to achieve gains in all of our core areas,” Loeb said in a statement. “Quality of life issues were at the top of our priority list. The protective terms we negotiated in this agreement and the agreement reached earlier establish a defined weekend with the studios for the first time. The two agreements incorporate stiff penalties for failing to provide meals and breaks. Taken together, the improvements we made at the bargaining table are very significant and directly due to the solidarity of our members.”