Ballots for ratification of the Basic Agreement of 2003 will be mailed later this week to over 33,000 members of the IATSE, it was announced by Thomas C. Short, International President. The mailing marks the culmination of early negotiations between the IATSE and the AMPTP for the contract that covers production personnel in film and television. Those negotiations concluded on November 16, 2002 and, pending ratification, the terms of the agreement will take effect when the current contract expires July 31, 2003.
The IATSE achieved gains in wages, and employer health and pension plan contributions at a time when the United States is facing rising health care costs and corporate pension instability.
“The objectives of the IATSE in these negotiations were to obtain a substantial increase in the basic pension plan, increase payments to the Individual Account Plan, maintain the existing health plan as to eligibility and benefits for active and retired members, and obtain jurisdiction over the Internet. This new agreement fulfills all of these objectives,” Short commented. He added, “The basic pension plan benefits are increased, retirees will receive a 13th and 14th check, the Health Plan is maintained, and we have language that will extend jurisdiction and agreements of the IATSE to the Internet.”
Terms of the agreement are:
Wage increases to start August 3, 2003 include a fifty cent ($.50) per hour increase, with a two and one-half percent (2.5%) increase effective August 1, 2004 and three percent (3%) effective July 31, 2005 with the later two increases being compounded.
On-call increases to include benefit contributions to be augmented for 60 hours per five-day work week, 67 hours per six day work week and 75 hours per seven day work week.
Pension Plan increases include: Twenty-five cents ($.25) per hour increase effective August 3, 2003
Additional fifteen cents ($.15) per hour effective August 1, 2004
Additional fifteen cents ($.10) per hour effective July 31, 2005
Those increases will be used to fund the following in pension plan benefits:
To be adopted during the first quarter of 2006, a retroactive pension increase of a minimum of 7.5% and a maximum of 15% for active participants as of August 1, 2003.
For the first two years of the contract, participants who retire prior to August 1, 2003 will receive a thirteenth and fourteenth check on or about November 1st of each year, provided there is an eight (8) month reserve in the Retired employees Fund.
In the third year of the contract, a thirteenth and fourteenth check will be issued to participants retired prior to August 1, 2003, provided there is an eight (8) month reserve in both the Active Health Fund and the Retired employees Fund.
Health Plan increases include:
Beginning August 3, 2003, contributions to be increased by twenty cents an hour ($.20) for active employees and five cents an hour ($.05) for retirees
Eliminate the limitations on hospital stays.
Health Plan changes designed to save over $54 million over the next three years include:
Increased prescription drug coverage to $10 for generic, $15 for brand name, $25 for super brand names, for a 30 day supply retail; and $20 for generic, $30 for brand name, $36 for super brand names, for a 90 day supply mail order.
Increased prescription coverage for retirees to $3 for generic, $5 for brand names, for 30 day supply retail; and $6 for generic, $10 for brand names, for a 90 day supply mail order.
Reduced chiropractic and acupuncture visits to 20 annual visits each.
Coordinated spousal coverage.
Internet terms provide for residuals to the Pension & Health Plans on product produced under the Basic Agreement for supplementary exhibition on the Internet. In addition, individual producers will provide information to the IATSE on product made for the Internet as the primary market with negotiation to apply an IATSE agreement on recognition an terms, specifically coverage as to Pension & Health benefits.
Safety training includes a four-hour minimum call to apply for any day when an employee, at the request of an individual producer, reports for safety training. In addition, a modification of the Industry Experience Roster will provide a provision for suspension from the roster if legally required class training classes are not completed.
Episodic television and low budget television changes and modifications of the terms and conditions apply only to new series or productions.
An advocate of early negotiations in Hollywood labor, Short hopes the DGA, WGA and SAG will follow in the footsteps of the IATSE and begin early negotiations for their guilds as well, to stabilize the industry and its employment patterns prospectively.