For the first time since 1988, IATSE, the Teamsters, and Hollywood Basic Crafts are teaming up to jointly negotiate their pension and health plans with the studios. The three unions will still individually negotiate their other contractual matters with the AMPTP.
The shared goal is to secure additional streaming-based funding mechanisms for the plans, increasing retirement accrual rates, and thwarting cuts to health coverage, the unions said in a joint statement shared with IndieWire. There is strength in numbers — and for Hollywood Basic Crafts, there is also now an expedited schedule. Joint talks on the Motion Picture Pension and Health Plan (MPIPHP or MPI) will begin the first week of March.
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Unlike writers, directors, and actors, crew members do not get direct residuals — there is instead a pool for their pension and health plans. It serves more than 75,000 active participants and retirees.
The unions each have their own specific issues to address; these talks will focus on shared benefits only, getting those out of the way first. After that, IATSE will be up first — the Teamsters and Hollywood Basic Crafts get their at-bats with the AMPTP in early June. The current deals all expire on July 31, 2024.
“Our benefit plans remain at the forefront of members’ minds. Though the plans took a hit financially due to work stoppages prolonged by the employers in 2023 as well as the pandemic work stoppage in 2020, the trustees of the plan knew funds spent to ensure continuity of workers’ health and retirement benefits was money well spent,” said IATSE VP Michael Miller. “It’s important for our unions to be on the same page as we collaboratively negotiate for the plans not only because sustainable benefits is a shared priority of our memberships, but also because recent hardships have brought behind-the-scenes crews together in historic fashion.”
“Our members are the backbone of production,” said Lindsay Dougherty, Teamsters Local 399 Principal Officer, and Chairperson of the Hollywood Basic Crafts. “They give their blood, sweat and tears to this industry. They are owed the ability to retire with dignity and have the stability of plan funding to protect and increase benefits. Fighting alongside IATSE on shared MPIPHP benefits will not only support all Hollywood crew members, but also remind the employers that when they can’t divide us, they should fear us. Nothing moves without the crew.”
The unions represented jointly under the pension and healthcare negotiations includes Teamsters Local 399, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 40 (IBEW), Laborers International Union of North America Local 724 (LiUNA!), United Association Plumbers Local 78 (UA), and Operating Plasterers & Cement Masons International Association (OPCMIA) Local 755.
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