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IATSE and other crew unions make pension and health proposals as negotiations begin

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IATSE and Hollywood Basic Crafts unions opened negotiations Monday with their proposals on pensions and health care.

The first day of trading followed a massive gathering on Sundayin which union leaders warned of the consequences of last year’s Hot Labor Summer if no deal was reached before the July 31 deadline.

The talks began at 2 p.m. with an unusually large delegation of crew unions negotiating with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the major studios.

Negotiations are expected to take place amid media silence, a sign that both sides believe it would be counterproductive to share details of their proposals in the press.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees has agreed to jointly negotiate with Teamsters Local 399 and other rank-and-file trade unions on issues relating to the film industry’s pension and health plans.

The unions were to demand a new residual distribution that would increase employer contributions to retirement and health plans. The unions demanded the same provision during the 2021 negotiations, but did not obtain it.

Pension and health plans are facing an unusually large deficit following last year’s twin strikes, which crippled the scripted side of the industry for six months.

“The coalition of unions has presented initial proposals to the AMPTP regarding the MPI shared benefit schemes,” the unions informed in a brief update on social media Monday evening. “Discussions are expected to continue throughout the week.”

The negotiation process is expected to be slow. After joint discussions on pensions and health care, IATSE is expected to begin negotiating the basic agreement, which affects 13 West Coast locals. Attention will turn in late April to the regional standards agreement, which affects other locals across the country, and Teamsters Local 399 will negotiate its separate issues in June.

Unions have already committed not to extend contracts beyond the expiration date.

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