IATSE wants to flood Gov. Jerry Brown and Sacramento with letters urging an expansion of California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program. Last week the union sent out packages to members urging them to sign letters to two state Senate committees and the Governor to stop runaway production and pledge support and passage of the multi-sponsored Film and Television Job Creation and Retention Act. “We are in a fight to save our families and our livelihoods,” said the letter to Brown (read it here). “I respectfully ask you to be our champion and to save our iconic industry,” it adds. Though he takes money for his re-election from Hollywood moguls, Brown has refused to publicly state his support for a recent bill to expand the Golden State’s tax incentives to make them more competitive with other states, various Canadian and countries like the UK and stop jobs fleeing out of the home of Hollywood.
Introduced in late February by Democrats Mike Gatto and Raul Bocanegra,the state Assembly overwhelmingly passed the Act on May 28. While now allowing pics with budgets over $75 million and network pilots to be eligible for tax credits, the legislation, also known as AB 1839, still doesn’t yet have a dollar figure attached to it even though the state budget is now complete as of June 15. However, sources tell me a figure could be named in the next couple of weeks. The legislation is … Read More »
Allegations of a union “shakedown” and “extortion” in the hallway of a Las Vegas hotel have been leveled against leaders of an IATSE local in New Orleans. The explosive charges, which only now have come to light, were made by IATSE Sound Local 695 business agent Jim Osburn at a hearing shortly before his North Hollywood-based union was placed into trusteeship in February. Osburn’s local was put on trial after leaders of Studio Mechanics Local 478 in Louisiana accused him of obstructing their efforts to collect so-called “assessments” on the wages of out-of-state workers who film in Louisiana. Typically, the local takes a 3% cut of their wages, which is permitted under the IATSE’s constitution and by-laws.
Related: Hollywood Teamsters Boss Tells Drivers To Stop On-Set Fistfights
Osburn, who has headed Local 695 on and off for most of the past 40 years, denied the obstruction charges and leveled some allegations of his own at a January hearing about the case. According to a 207-page transcript of the hearing, Osburn said leaders of the Louisiana local tried to get him to collect on a rather unusual assessment they’d levied against a Local 695 sound mixer named Mark Weber – not for work Weber had done in Louisiana but for a job they’d prevented him from getting in the first place.
In 2009, Weber had gone to New Orleans to interview for a sound mixing job on the film Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call – New Orleans. After meeting with the film’s director, Werner Herzog, the producers agreed to hire him. But there was a problem: Weber had failed to obtain a work permit from the Louisiana local, and he’d failed to pay an assessment the last time he’d worked there. Local 478 business agent Michael McHugh informed the producers of the problem, and they in turn told Weber to straighten it out. Weber paid his past-due assessment, but the leaders of the Louisiana local still wouldn’t issue him a work permit or allow him to join their local. Instead, they told him — on threat of being expelled from IATSE — not to take the job. When he refused, they persuaded the producers not to hire him and to hire a local sound mixer instead. Weber then filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, which, after a two-day hearing, ruled that the Louisiana local had “attempted to cause and caused the employer to withdraw its offer of employment to Weber” in violation of the National Labor Relations Act. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The leader of Hollywood’s animation union says some of his members have been frozen out of a generous bonus paid to workers at Disney Animation Studios as thanks for the success of the blockbuster animated film Frozen. The Oscar-winning film, which has taken in more than $1 billion worldwide, is the highest-grossing animated movie of all time. “Disney paid bonuses to everyone who worked on Frozen except for those who were laid off after the film was completed,” said Steve Hulett, business representative of IATSE Animation Guild Local 839. “I’ve heard they got 10 weeks of their weekly pay as a bonus. Everyone at the facility got the bonus, even if they didn’t work on it. Some of my people worked on the whole picture to the very end and then they were laid off, and they’re not getting the bonus. It just doesn’t seem right.” A studio source confirmed that “eligible, current Walt Disney Animation Studios employees were given a studio bonus.”
Disney also gave bonuses to the studio’s employees after the success of Wreck-It Ralph. A Frozen animator who did not receive a bonus this time said he got a generous bonus after Wreck-It Ralph even though he didn’t work on that film. He said he considered it a good-will profit sharing gesture on behalf of the studio for all current employees. Read More »
Safety issues are starting to take center stage across the entertainment industry in the wake of Sarah Jones‘ death on the set of Midnight Rider. Tonight in Burbank at a meeting of the Local 399, fliers were handed out for an IATSE-backed May 4 seminar entitled “Safety Rights of Workers & Your Rights Under OSHA Class,” which a description says will educate union attendees on set safety protocol, their rights as workers, and “what to do when you feel you are being placed in a hazardous situation.” The seminar will be open to all members of the entertainment industry, not just IATSE members, and will be jointly hosted by the Local 80, which reps first aid employees, motion picture grips, craft services, warehouse workers, and the Local 728, which represents represents studio electrical lighting technicians.
Related: The Death Of Sarah Jones: Safety Concerns Raised Over ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew’s Previous Film In Georgia
The estimated 50 attendees at tonight’s Local 399 meeting began the session with a moment of silence for fallen camera assistant Jones, who died in a train collision on February 20 in Georgia, and also for LAPD officer Chris Cortijo, a 26-year veteran of the force well known in the L.A. production community, who was killed by an alleged DUI driver April 5 in Sun Valley.
Handouts for the May 4 safety meeting were made available to attending members of Local 399, which represents camera car drivers, casting directors, crane operators, location managers, coordinators and scouts, production drivers, script coordinators, stunt and/or blind drivers, transportation coordinators, and others. It will be held from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM on Sunday, May 4 at the IATSE Local 80 in Burbank: Read More »
UPDATE, 8:14 PM: No joke — the strike is over. After a day-and-a-half labor action on the part of the Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, the postproduction crew of Last Comic Standing now have a union contract, I’ve learned. With that over, everybody is heading back to work tomorrow on the soon-to-debut NBC reboot. The roughly 15 editors, assistant editors and other briefly striking post employees have won the health and retirement benefits plus vacation and holiday pay they sought when they walked out on Monday. A day of picketing today outside the Glendale postproduction facility of the NBC Studios show also saw significant wage increases for the assistant editors. Last Comic Standing is set to premiere on May 22.
PREVIOUS, APRIL 21, AM: Just more than a month before its reboot is set to debut, NBC‘s Last Comic Standing today has been knocked down by a labor action. About 15 editors and assistant editors walked off the job today in a no-joke strike organized by the Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, I’ve learned. Hired by NBC Studios on a non-union basis, the editors are seeking a union contract that includes industry-standard health insurance and pension benefits. Read More »
Thursday’s shocking train collision that left camera assistant Sarah Jones dead and several others injured on the set of Open Road’s Midnight Rider is still under investigation in Jesup, Georgia outside of Savannah. According to the Wayne County Sheriff’s department, the collision site on the Doctortown train trestle is being treated as a crime scene and an autopsy on Jones was conducted today with results to come. A 20-person crew based out of Savannah’s Meddin Studios had been filming the Gregg Allman biopic under Midnight Rider director Randall Miller when a northbound CSX Railroad train ran through, fatally striking Jones. Open Road is set as distributor on the film from Miller and co-scribe/producer Jody Savin’s L.A.-based Unclaimed Freight Productions. Monday afternoon President Steven Poster, ASC of IATSE Local 600 International Cinematographers Guild, of which Jones was a member, issued a statement on the fatal accident and the Locals 600 and 491′s ongoing investigation with OSHA, NTSB, and local authorities:
“Local 600’s membership and IATSE members across the country are mourning the loss of Sarah Jones, a 27-year old camera assistant, who died in a tragic accident last Thursday while shooting on the set of “Midnight Rider” in Savannah, Georgia. Sarah was a smart, talented camera assistant with an infectious personality and a promising career ahead of her.”
“When Locals 600 and 491 received the call about the accident on late Thursday afternoon (local
… Read More »
2nd UPDATE, 5:28 PM: Naked And Afraid’s post production team voted today to ratify the deal the Editors Guild and producers Renegade 83 came to on Saturday for the Discovery Channel show. The IATSE contract means the Naked And Afraid employees will receive retroactive health and pension contributions, increased assistant editor pay, and overtime will now be paid at appropriate rates. After going on strike on November 18, the Naked And Afraid post production team will return to work on Monday.
1st UPDATE: Nov. 23, PM: After almost a week, the Editors Guild and IATSE picket line is down at the Sherman Oaks offices of production company Renegade 83. “#NakedAndAfraid picketing is suspended until further notice. Please do not report for picket duty this afternoon,” tweeted out the Guild today. While details are sketchy, the two sides have reached a tentative agreement over an IATSE contract, I’ve learned. That also means that the two-hour Naked And Afraid special scheduled to air on December 8 and lead the weeklong “Discovery Unwrapped” block on Discovery Channel‘ will more than likely make its air date after all. The crew of the reality TV show and the union went out on November 18 in search of an agreement.
PREVIOUSLY, NOV, 18 AM: Editors on Discovery Channel‘s Naked & Afraid walked … Read More »
The Motion Picture Editors Guild (IATSE 700) will be making its ongoing dispute with filmmaker-philanthropist Sonia Nassery Cole public tonight at the 2013 PEN USA Literary Awards in Beverly Hills, where Cole is a scheduled honoree. The beef stems from $85K in compensation Cole’s Breadwinner Productions still owes guild members for work on her 2011 Afghan Oscar submission The Black Tulip, amounting to $65K in wages and over $20K in contracted benefit contributions. MPEG filed a grievance on behalf of its members in 2011 and tried to pursue it through arbitration but Cole became uncooperative and unresponsive, a guild spokesperson tells me. Cole is set to receive the Freedom to Write award from PEN USA tonight at the Beverly Hills Hotel. MPEG is sending a small contingent of members to banner outside the event with signs that read “SHAME ON YOU! Sonia Nassery Cole – Pay the Editors of The Black Tulip THEIR FULL WAGES – IATSE Local 700.”
“While the picture itself honors the principles represented by the PEN Awards, Ms. Cole steadfastly refuses to honor those same principles when dealing with the editorial crew she employed on the picture,” MPEG Western Executive Director Cathy Repola wrote in a letter to PEN USA obtained by Deadline. PEN USA exec director Adam Somers tells Deadline the organization does not plan on taking any action tonight in response to Local 700′s presence.
There’s change and there’s more of the same at the Animation Guild after the Executive elections last night. Like the WGA West and WGA East’s recent elections, it was a largely uncontested vote at the Animation Guild Tuesday. DreamWorks Animation Tech Director Nathan Loofbourrow takes over as the Guild Local IATSE 839’s new President. The former Guild VP and first tech director to be President replaces Bob Foster in the position. Also in an uncontested election, DreamWorks Animation writer and Guild Executive Board member Jack Thomas takes over as the new VP. Without opposition, Steve Hulett was re-elected as Business Representative, a position he has held since 1989. Executive Board member and retake animation editor Karen Carnegie Johnson won the Sergeant-At-Arms job unopposed. No one sought the nomination for the Recording Secretary job and the position will be filled by appointment. The new officers will be sworn in on December 3.
Related: WGAW Incumbent President Chris Keyser Re-Elected
This all went down on Tuesday evening in Burbank at the general membership meeting the Guild had with around 90 of the Local’s approximately 2,8000 members present. With only one person each running for the President, Vice-Present, Biz Rep and Sergeant-At-Arms positions, members voted in a white ballot to confirm the candidates. However, it isn’t all over electionwise at the Animation Guild. Ballots on the 15 candidates running to fill the 11 Executive Board positions will be counted on … Read More »
UPDATED, 11:14 PM: YouTube today dismissed the support that IATSE, the DGA, AFM and SAG-AFTRA has shown for Viacom’s efforts to get another day in court with its $1 billion copyright infringement suit. Not only does the Google-owned company say in a statement that the unions’ brief “recycles” a previous filing from 2010 in the suit but that they “don’t seem to have followed developments in the case.” Read the statement YouTube issued via a spokesperson late Monday below:
The brief filed by entertainment industry unions recycles their brief from the first appeal in 2010. They don’t seem to have followed developments in the case or recognized the changes to YouTube’s place in the entertainment ecosystem. The Court has twice rejected Viacom’s unfounded copyright infringement claims. And even Viacom has conceded it doesn’t object to how YouTube has operated for the last five years. YouTube has signed licensing agreements with every major movie studio and record label, has developed an industry-leading Content Identification system used by 4,000 media partners, and does more to prevent piracy than any other major video hosting provider.
PREVIOUSLY, 6:33 PM: Despite another recent court loss, Viacom’s latest attempt to revive its billion-dollar copyright suit against YouTube has just gotten some very vocal support again from some old friends. “YouTube’s role in the rampant, systematic distribution of content in violation of the exclusive rights of copyright holders caused and continues to cause harm to the entertainment industries and the members of the Guilds and Unions working in those industries,” said a joint brief filed late last week by lawyers for the Directors Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and the American Federation of Musicians. “We urge the Court to consider the full ramifications of YouTube’s actions, and request that the Court reverse the lower court’s decision.” The unions offered similar such support as they did last week back in 2010. Filed on August 2 this year, the quartet’s new 28-page brief (read it here) comes after Viacom filed materials on July 30 with the 2nd Court of Appeals asking for a new judge in the long-running case. That expected legal move against Judge Louis Stanton followed the NY-based U.S. District Court judge granting YouTube yet another favorable summary judgment in the matter on April 18. That was the second such decision for the Google-owned entity in the case. Viacom first launched the $1B action in 2007. Read More »
The Animation Guild and Nickelodeon Animation Studios had a deal and now they have a contract. Today a vote was held at the studio in Burbank and the final result had 90.1% of the 61 recently unionized CG Artists of Local 839 IATSE voting Yes for the contract. The Guild has had a contract covering traditional animation artists at the Viacom-owned cable network since 2004. Since 2008, Local 839 has been trying to organize CG artists under its protection. In the case of the 70 Nickelodeon employees, negotiations started in March and were “stringent” at the beginning, I hear. However, sources tell me but with a bit of give on both sides, they reached a deal on July 10. “Nick negotiators Bill Cole and Kevin Ellman were tough but flexible, and had a lot to do with the parties reaching agreement,” said the Guild’s Business Representative Steve Hulett in a statement today about the crew on the other side of the table. The Guild said Friday that the main issue in the talks was to insure uninterrupted health coverage for covered employees with bridging from Nickelodeon’s corporate insurance to the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan.
The Animation Guild is a local union of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada.
UPDATE, 2:02 PM: The strike at Last Chance Holiday is over. IATSE and producers Indy Entertainment reached a deal late this morning. The protesting crew of the low-budget feature approved the union contact this afternoon. The strike started Tuesday with crew members wanting union representation to combat long hours and the lack of benefits on the indie pic. The crew will return to work immediately.
PREVIOUSLY, 11:07 AM: The last few days have been no vacation for Last Chance Holiday. Members from IATSE Locals 600, 495, 706 and others took to the picket line yesterday to back up the crew of the Indy Entertainment-produced feature in their labor dispute. And another picket against the film is scheduled for today in Griffith Park. Although shooting continued on Last Chance Holiday last night, union sources tell me that the small budget production has been unable to fully recrew because of the strike. Having complained of excessive hours and lack of benefits on the production, the members of the crew sought union representation earlier this week. The Art Directors Guild sent out an email Tuesday urging members to “please support this crew, which has been intimidated and abused by the production”. However, the action planned for later today might prove moot at this point. A production insiders say that the producers of Last Chance Holiday and the union are meeting soon to try to work out an … Read More »
When a VFX town hall was held back in March, the visual effects community was in a state of panic, unsure of how best to unite to battle subsidies, runaway productions, untenable working conditions and other issues endemic to the industry. A follow-up event held last night in LA (and online from San Rafael and Vancouver — watch it here) focused movement toward forming a VFX union, but it marked only slight progress for organizing efforts. With many LA VFX artists preoccupied by the work that’s draining away from the region to other subsidized cities, community meetings like this remain hung up on the kinds of nightmare stories of extreme work days and paycheck delays that keep circulating around the biz. “I bought my co-worker toothpaste because she didn’t have money to afford it,” said VFX artist Diana Marie Wells, late of infamous NewBreed VFX, who streamed in from Montreal where she’s been battling alongside other artists for payment owed.
Related: Produced By Conference: Pros Forecast The Future Of VFX, Post-Rhythm & Hues
If momentum picks up in favor of unionizing, it might stem from IATSE addressing what affects artists first: fighting for fair working conditions and payment protocol that’s lacking in the most egregious of VFX shop violators. But the process will be a long march. Read More »
All My Children and One Life To Live producer Prospect Park and IATSE Locals 52, 161, 600, 700, 764, 798 and USA829 have resolved the labor issues that led to the two soaps going on hiatus 11 days earlier than planned. In light of the dispute, Prospect Park also was considering moving production of the two shows, based in Stamford, Conn., to another state. Now they will stay put and return to production as planned on August 12.
Speaking on behalf of the New York Production Locals, Local 600 rep David Blake said, “We are pleased that that the parties were able to successfully address their concerns in a mutually beneficial way, which will enable these innovative shows to continue to be produced with our talented crews.” Said Prospect Park’s Jeff Kwatinetz, “We thank the entire IATSE organization for their continued support in bringing these shows to fans, and we especially appreciate the efforts of Chaim Kantor and John Ford and our entire crew for helping us to move forward as a unified team.”
Related: ‘All My Children’ & ‘One Life To Live’ Change Air Pattern To Two Episodes A Week Each
IATSE had accused Prospect Park of going over $120,000 per episode budget, which would trigger higher rates for the crew, something the production company has … Read More »
UPDATE, 9:34 PM: The Motion Pictures Editors Guild said tonight that it has reached an agreement with the producers of The Hunt. “The crew will report to work as scheduled tomorrow, and they’ll be working under a union contract,” the guild said on its Facebook page. “Many thanks to all those sisters and brothers who volunteered to walk the picket line. Thankfully, this time it won’t be necessary.” Sources say that things got pretty heated before a deal was reached between the union and the show’s producers. Company execs were loudly promising that Renegade 83 could go bust if The Hunt crew unionized. They backed down from that claim when it looked like their show would be shut down by picketing tentatively scheduled for Wednesday.
PREVIOUSLY: The upcoming CW series The Hunt doesn’t premiere until July 31st, but its producers are already in trouble with the Hollywood unions. The Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, sent an email to its members and sister IATSE locals today calling for a Thursday picket against Renegade 83 Productions’ Sherman Oaks offices doing post-production. The union claims that production subsidiary Triple Ridge Entertainment “has improperly interfered with its employees’ free exercise of their right to organize”. MPEG took to its Facebook page to put out a call for picketers. The Hunt is a wilderness competition in which 12 teams compete in a physical game for a $25,000 prize. It is executive produced by David Garfinkle, Jay Renfroe and Greg Goldman.
Related: … Read More »
IATSE just sent out a release confirming a tentative agreement with Broadway producers.
After a lengthy process spread over five months, culminating in a fifteen-hour marathon session that ended in the early morning on May 2, 2013, the IATSE International and The Broadway League/Disney Theatrical Productions have reached a tentative agreement for a new three (3) year contract.
In addition to wage increases, a primary goal for President Matthew Loeb and the Union negotiators was to address challenging travel conditions faced by workers on these tours. Thus, the agreement includes premium pay for load-outs on multiple show days and for travel after a short-rest period, first time additional pay for make-up artists and hairstylists traveling on a seventh day, as well as first-time overage participation (i.e. bonus) for workers on successful tiered tours. The Agreement includes significant employer contributions to the health and pension plans for workers on tiered tours and wage increases for workers in all categories. It also includes employer contributions to the IATSE Training Trust.
Read More »
For many years Locals 849 and 667 served as the bargaining agent for motion picture technicians and camerapersons in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. As of April 2nd, members of Locals 849 and 667 who reside in Newfoundland and Labrador have the option to transfer their memberships to the new locals: Local 709 (Mixed) and Local 671 (International Cinematographers Guild). International President Matthew D. Loeb said in a statement: “The chartering of these locals reflects the increasing talent pool of technicians in Newfoundland and Labrador.”