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Potential strike talks circulate IATSE's Editors guild despite claim of 'huge victory'

Yesterday (Thursday July 26) all but one of the IATSE’s guilds agreed to compromise with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for the upcoming July 31 contract renewal after a week-long stalemate. The Editors Guild refused to sign the tentative deal, and strike talk continues to circulate within the group.

27th July 2018
/ By Sahalie Donaldson

editors guild strike iatse PIXABAY

Yesterday’s failure to strike a deal added to the unrest rippling through the group. On July 21 an estimated 2,000 members of the Editors Guild gathered in Universal City fuelled by the potential for an upcoming strike.

During the three-hour meeting, union leaders gave a much sought-after update on the IATSE film and TV renewal contract. Overworked and underpaid, many editors are not happy with their current situation.


The IATSE and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have been working on the deal over the past few months, but Thursday’s arrangement is the closest they’ve come to striking an agreement. The Editors Guild still aren't satisfied, however.


As reported by Deadline, the executive director of IATSE Editors Guild, Cathy Repola, is calling a special meeting for the board of directors. She said she will be strongly recommending the “non-ratification of this deal to the board.”


An Editors Guild source told Mandy News, "The core of the situation is that cash rich new media (Netflix Amazon Hulu Youtube) needs to contribute to the Motion Picture Health and Pension plan to replace the diminishing and dying old media contributions.


"It is not for personal, it is for the general good. Without it Health and Pension will become underfunded. With everything that is going on, it's hard to see the trees through the forest."


The IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees), is a labour union that represents over 140,000 different individuals in the entertainment industry ranging from writers, editors, technicians and more. The union includes individuals involved in film, television, theatre and trade shows. It was formed in 1893, and covers Canada, as well as The United States.


Members can join the IATSE by contacting their local union. From there they are directed to the sector that covers their particular job. For example, writers to the writers guild, cinematographers to the cinematography guild. If accepted, IATSE members fall under the organisation’s contract, which in theory, guarantees higher wages, better hours, benefits and certain safety requirements.


The Motion Pictures Editors Guild, which turned down Thursday’s deal, are also known as the Editors Guild Local 700 and are based in the Los Angeles branch of the IATSE.

The IATSE has sparred with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers twice this year. Once in April and the other between June 26-29. The new contract will last three years and will cover 13 different groups within the IATSE, including the Editors Guild Local 700, the Art Directors Guild Local 800, and the Cinematographers Guild Local 600.


The members of the Motion Pictures Editors Guild are concerned that Hollywood negotiators don’t have their best interests at heart. They believe that funding for the IATSE pension plan is threatened because the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are refusing to contribute residuals from online streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and HBO to their own members.


Online streaming platforms dominate the TV industry. With Netflix dominating at this year’s Emmy nominations, and HBO and Hulu hot on its tail, more and more money and recognition is being pumped into subscriber content, leaving traditional media and thousands employed by the film and television industry, off to the side.


The down-to-the-wire negotiations between the two organisations are unusual. The IATSE and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers usually determine the upcoming contract long before it expires. According to Variety, 2015’s negotiations were easily completed three months before.


The contract expiration looms ahead – July 31 is less than a week away, and negotiators are scrambling to sort the situation.


In the meantime, strike talk within the Editors Guild Local 700 continues to circulate.


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