SPOKANE, Wa., March 30 — The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes (IATSE) and the producers of the Samuel L. Jackson movie, Home of the Brave, have inked a deal for fair wages, pension and health benefits for the film crew of the $12 million production.
Filming began last week in Spokane on Home of the Brave, which also stars Jessica Biel, Brian Presley and Christina Ricci and is directed by Hollywood veteran Irwin Winkler. Production was closed down after three-and-a-half days when an overwhelming majority of the crew which was not covered by union contract bravely signed union representation cards with IATSE Local 488 Studio Mechanics of the Northwest (serving the Pacific Northwest) and demanded a fair union contract.
North by Northwest, a local company that provided production services, had wished to use union workers but balked at paying standard union terms and conditions. North by Northwest claimed Home of the Brave could not afford to be produced in Spokane using local union labor under an IATSE agreement.
As a result of North by Northwest’s refusal to negotiate an agreement for the Spokane workers, the producers last Sunday cancelled their Spokane hotel rooms, packed up the production and headed to Vancouver, Canada, hoping to resume production. The production was unable to effectively crew the picture and reached out to the Union to resolve the situation. Everything went back on the trucks for the trip south to Spokane.
The producers brought in another production company to replace North by Northwest. Negotiations resumed with IATSE and an agreement was reached Wednesday, March 29, to return the production to Spokane and begin filming again on Friday.
Apparently, the representation made by North by Northwest’s Rich Cowan that Home of the Brave could not be produced as a $12 million film in Spokane has been contradicted by some better accounting. On the same production, and under identical circumstances, the new employer was readily able to agree to standard Union conditions. That fact indicates other motives on behalf of North by Northwest.
“As for the crew members, they don’t mind which entity they work for as long as they receive prevailing area wages, health care, working conditions and pension benefits,” said IATSE Representative Steve Aredas, who represented the IATSE in this effort.
“Local production outfits have to accept the fact that paying far below film and TV industry standards for Washington State is no longer business as usual,” said David Ray Robinson, Business Agent for IATSE Local 488. “People deserve healthcare and pensions. The days of exploitation in Washington State are over.”
Also involved in the negotiations were IATSE Vice President Matthew D. Loeb, IATSE Local 488 Business Agent Charles A. Carlsen. and IATSE Local 600 International Cinematographers Guild Western Region Business Representative David Behm.