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Hollywood crews union reaches a deal with studios, averting a strike

Anousha Sakoui and Meg James, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

LOS ANGELES — The union representing Hollywood crews has reached an agreement on a new contract with the major studios, avoiding a historic strike that would have disrupted film and TV production nationwide.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have concluded an agreement on a new three-year contract covering some 60,000 film and TV industry workers, said several people familiar with the negotiations who were not authorized to comment.

The alliance represents the major Hollywood studios such as Walt Disney and Warner Bros. along with newcomers Apple, Amazon and Netflix.

An agreement ends a standoff that would have led to the first nationwide strike in the union’s 128-year history and the first major strike by crews since World War II.

The proposed contract, which is subject to approval by the union’s members, would include modest wage increases in line with other Hollywood union contracts and a commitment to cover a $400 million deficit in the union’s health and pension plans. It also addresses longstanding complaints about long hours, requiring a minimum turnaround time of 10 hours between shoots and 54 hours’ rest over the weekend.

Variety first reported that a breakthrough in negotiations came after the sides worked late Friday night, with entertainment attorney Ken Ziffren and senior Disney executive Peter Rice playing important roles in bridging differences between the sides.

 

The deal was greeted with a sigh of relief across Hollywood, which was on edge over the prospect of shutdown that would have upended planned film and TV shoots.

A walkout would have had a significant effect on the film and TV industry that is a major employer in Southern California and other production hubs nationwide, including New York City, Atlanta, Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico. The last major labor dispute in Hollywood — the 2007-08 writers strike — lasted 100 days and sparked lasting changes to the industry.

Studios — still recovering from heavy losses sustained by shutdowns and movie theater closures — have been eager to ramp up productions that were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The threatened walkout caught some studio executives by surprise.

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