In an apparent attempt to test the resolve of the IATSE, the producers of the $6.5 million feature film,”Celestine Prophecy” was successfully organized by representatives of the IATSE and Locals 600 and 477, it was announced by International President Thomas C. Short.
Unlike most theatrical motion pictures with multi-million dollar budgets, the producers of the “Celestine Prophecy” rejected overtures to reach an agreement through early negotiations. The producers instead tested the theory that a better deal could be had by coming to the brink of a strike.
An organizing team, led by International Representative, Scott Harbinson arrived in St. Augustine, FL during the second week of production. Assisted by Joe Humphreys and Greg Kasper from Local 477, and John Hilsman and Larry Gianneschi from Local 600, the organizers quickly obtained authorization cards from the majority of the crew, made its demand for recognition and set a strike deadline.
After many hours of negotiations, a contract was successfully concluded that provided for wage and benefit increases which were applied retroactively to each employee’s initial date of hire. The company stated that the agreed upon contract provided additional wages and benefits to nearly 70 IATSE-represented employees in an amount between $425,000 and $500,000. The company, which plans to produce two additional films in the series, has stated that in the future, it would prefer to take advantage of the more favorable agreements the IATSE offers producers which contact it and engage in early negotiations.