Teamsters, Basic Crafts Put Pressure On AMPTP To “Set The Tone” For Remainder Of Talks Ahead Of IATSE’s Return To Table

The Hollywood Basic Crafts are putting the ball firmly in the studios’ court to strike new three-year deals with the below-the-line unions before the clock strikes midnight on July 31.

The Basic Crafts — which include Teamsters Local 399, LiUNA! Local 724, IBEW Local 40, OPCMIA Local 755, and UA Local 78— wrapped their second week of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Friday, concluding their scheduled dates for June. They return to the table on Monday, though, alongside IATSE to reopen talks on their joint benefit plans.

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In a statement issued Friday evening, chief negotiator Lindsay Dougherty and the rest of the negotiating committee assured that they “remain united and are prepared to continue the fight on behalf of our collective memberships.”

Hollywood Basic Crafts negotiating committee, led by Teamsters Local 399 chief Lindsay Dougherty
Hollywood Basic Crafts negotiating committee, led by Teamsters Local 399 chief Lindsay Dougherty

However, the tone of the statement indicates that talks may not be as productive as union leadership had hoped, as the committee says they felt “a perceived lack of urgency on the employers’ end in addressing issues affecting our members.”

“While this process just started last week, our contract is set to expire next month on July 31st. We have no intention of extending our agreement past expiration and would instead prefer to engage in productive discussions. We have been upfront about our intention to find a middle ground on our members’ core priorities, while working collaboratively to see Hollywood rebound,” the statement continued.

The priorities outlined by the Basic Crafts include improved working conditions and increased compensation, similar to some of the high-priority demands that IATSE has been pushing for as well. IATSE is scheduled to return to the table with the AMPTP next week not only to discuss the joint benefit plans but also to hopefully wrap up negotiations on their own Basic Agreement and Area Standards Agreement.

Those talks stalled earlier this month, with wage increases and pension contributions emerging as the primary sticking points, prompting the parties to agree to four additional days of bargaining from June 24 to 27.

The Basic Crafts’ negotiating committee ended its Friday night statement by insisting “the ball is now in the employers’ court to set the tone for our final month of negotiations when we return to the table.”

It’s worth noting that, so far, none of the unions have called for a strike authorization vote, which is necessary before they think about walking any picket lines. This indicates that leadership is likely still hopeful a deal can be made without a strike, but next week could be a turning point depending on how those conversations go.

Earlier this week, nearly 400 members across the WGA, PGA, DGA and SAG-AFTRA signed a letter of solidarity addressed directly to the AMPTP, urging the Carol Lombardini-led group to bargain “a fair contract that acknowledges their essential contributions to production and allows these behind-the-scenes artists, artisans, and craftspeople to live and retire with dignity.”

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