Hollywood union reaches streaming payment deal to avoid strike

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The union representing thousands of film and TV production workers has reached a tentative agreement with the studios, averting a strike due to start on Monday.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) had negotiated with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents major production studios like Netflix, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures and Disney. IATSE has sought to improve working conditions, including weekend rest periods and higher pay scales on streaming shows for its members, who work in many behind-the-scenes roles in Hollywood, such as broadcast technicians, animators and make-up artists.

The new three-year deal, which still needs to be ratified by members, includes retroactive wage increases of 3% per year, daily rest periods of 10 hours and weekend rest periods of 54 hours, according to a post on the IATSE website. It also includes “improved wages and working conditions for streaming,” but no specific details on what that includes.

Streaming was a major sticking point in the negotiations; under IATSE’s existing contract, streaming productions have been granted “greater flexibility” regarding wages and worker benefits. Indeed, when the contract was negotiated in 2009, streaming was a new industry with an unclear market. But streaming has become a billion-dollar industry in the years since, and IATSE has argued that the pay structure for streaming productions should be adjusted accordingly.

The deal will avoid a walkout that would have had a major impact on Hollywood. But IATSE said negotiations are continuing on a separate contract for people working on movies and shows produced in other parts of the country, including New York, New Mexico, Georgia and Louisiana.

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