IATSE President Matt Loeb Urged To Protect Union’s Pension & Health Plans In First Contract Talks With Netflix

David Robb

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As negotiations enter the homestretch for IATSE’s first national contract with Netflix, members from a dozen of its locals are urging IATSE president Matt Loeb “to be relentless” at the bargaining table in order to provide “much-needed income to secure the future funding of our pensions.”

In April, the trustees of the union’s Motion Picture Industry Pension Plan reported that its funding level had dipped to 66.8% – bringing it closer to “critical” condition, which by federal law is anything below 65%, as measured by a plan’s assets divided by its liabilities.

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“Streaming is the future and that future is in your hands,” the IATSE locals told Loeb, the union’s chief negotiator, in an open letter that will appear in a full-page ad in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times. “The IATSE must reach an agreement that brings equitable wages and working conditions for every IA member who will be working under this agreement, as well as new established funding stability to the health and pensions for us and our families whose livelihoods rely on extraordinary affordable health care and long-term pension security. Tens of thousands of working families in the entertainment and media industries are depending on this.”

The open letter adds: “There isn’t anything on a long-term basis more important to us,” the ad states, “than having our leadership negotiate adequate residual streams to replace those that have been in existence for decades and for which we can no longer rely upon as the streaming market surpasses traditional distribution methods.”

Up until now, the giant streaming service has dealt only with the union through third-party companies that have signed IATSE’s basic film and TV agreement. The talks, which recessed over the holidays, are expected to resume shortly.

The ad was paid for by members of 12 IATSE locals, including:
• Affiliated Property Craftspersons, Local 44
• Motion Picture Studio Mechanics, Local 52
• Motion Picture Studio Grips, Crafts Service, Set Medics, Marine Department & Warehouse Workers, Local 80
• Script Supervisors, Production Office Coordinators, Production Accountants, and Payroll Accountants, Local 161
• Cinematographers Guild, Local 600
• Production Sound Technicians, Television Engineers, Video Assist Technicians and Studio Projectionists, Local 695
• Editors Guild, Local 700
• Costumers, Local 705
• Studio Lighting Technicians, Local 728
• Art Directors Guild, Local 800
• Script Supervisors/Continuity, Coordinators, Accountants & Allied Production Specialists Guild, Local 871
• Costume Designers Guild, Local 892

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