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 …
Despite a looming strike next week, there was no last minute deal struck today in the last bargaining session between the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the union that represents the healthcare workers at the Wasserman …
UPDATE, 8:34 AM: The union that represents healthcare workers at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s care facility and hospital is planning picket lines this week but the organization’s CEO says “progress was made” in the last set of talks between the two sides. “We were encouraged by this past week’s bargaining session with SEIU and a federal mediator,” said the MPTF’s Bob Beitcher in a statement today. In the February 14 meeting, the MPTF offered to open up their books to provide the SEIU will a full sense of their negotiating position, says a source close to the situation. The union, who won a strike authorization vote from their members on January 30, is planning to picket MPTF offices and the Woodland Hills hospital on February 21. More visibly, the SEIU is considering a picket line at Jeffrey Katzenberg’s February 23 ‘Night Before’ charity event for the MPTF at the Beverly Hill Hotel. Read MPTF CEO Beitcher’s full statement here:
We were encouraged by this past week’s bargaining session with SEIU and a federal mediator. Progress was made in resolving a long list of open contract points and both parties were actively engaged in narrowing the discussions to a few key issues. To facilitate additional progress, MPTF and SEIU continue to comply with additional information requests and MPTF has agreed to provide an educational workshop for SEIU’s bargaining unit. We are hopeful that the next bargaining session on March 7th will take us even closer to achieving a mutually satisfactory 3-year agreement.
PREVIOUSLY, FEB. 15: Jeffrey Katzenberg’s 11th Annual ‘Night Before’ Oscars Fundraiser benefitting the Motion Picture and Television Fund on February 23rd could suffer a pre-strike union picket line. That’s because of a stalemated bargaining session Thursday between the MPTF and the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West. I have learned that the powerful union is “strongly considering” going out on the line at the charity event at the Beverly Hills Hotel. That would present guests with a dilemma because some notables also belong to unions — Hollywood guilds — and won’t want to cross the picket line. The gala has been protested before – but by families and concerned friends of the long-term care hospital and units when Katzenberg decided to close them. The guests in limousines simply whizzed past the demonstrators barely giving them a glance. But last year’s fundraiser went off without a hitch when a compromise was reached to keep the long-term care facilities open.
Another salvo was fired today in the war of words between the Newspaper Guild of New York and The New York Times. The two are in negotiations over digital and print agreements that expired in March 2011. Approximately 1,000 NYT employees are covered by the print contract and 100 by the digital contact. Earlier this week, the Guild claimed that in suddenly seeking two deals and not one unified agreement, NYT management is trying to create an impasse in the talks so it can force its “last, best” offer on employees. Yesterday, the NYT said it does want a single contractm but it can’t pursue one if the Guild won’t, as the NYT claims, “explicitly commit to negotiate a single contract.” Today the Guild explained its position:
UPDATED: For a third straight year, AFTRA is dominating the broadcast pilot season by representing about 90% of the pilots. Of the 79 pilots ordered by the 5 broadcast nets, 69 are being covered by AFTRA, with one other still TBD.
Those that I have confirmed to be SAG-affiliated are NBC’s Wonder Woman reboot from David E. Kelley, the network’s Broadway-centric Smash, period Western The Crossing and the untitled Whitney Cummings comedy. Also SAG-represented are ABC’s comedy Suburgatory and Fox’s drama Exit Strategy, which has strong feature pedigree – director Antoine Fuqua and star Ethan Hawke. Also in the SAG column are 2 other drama pilots directed by big-name feature directors, ABC’s Phillip Noyce-helmed Revenge and CBS’ untitled Susannah Grant medical drama directed by Jonathan Demme. And, because Fox’s dramedy Bones is done under a SAG agreement, its planted spinoff The Finder automatically goes with SAG.
Once again Sony Pictures TV went 100% AFTRA, with the other studios doing only a handful projects with SAG: UMS (3), Warner Bros. TV & 20th Century Fox TV (2), ABC Studios & CBS TV Studios (1).
The shift from SAG, once the dominant actors union in broadcast primetime, to AFTRA started 2 years ago with the threat of a SAG strike. A strike was avoided and a more moderate leadership of SAG was elected but TV studios stayed with AFTRA, something that has been made possible by the proliferation of digital technology. Only series shot on 35mm have to go with SAG; digitally filmed shows can be SAG- or AFTRA-affiliated. Because the decision on filming equipment is made mainly by the pilot director, it’s often pilots helmed by feature directors who insist on using 35 mm film that get a SAG representation.
AFTRA’s dominant performance during broadcast pilots season in the past 2 years led to a fundamental primetime shift last fall when for the first time AFTRA overtook SAG as the top actors union representing 45 series on the broadcast networks this season vs. 38 for SAG. Of course, with the growing movement for unification within both unions, such separation could soon be rendered irrelevant.
Here is a list of the AFTRA-affiliated broadcast pilots this season:
WGAW Board Members Chip Johannessen and Patric Verrone have issued a strongly worded message of support the Comcast writers wanting WGA representation:
To Our Fellow Members,
Members of the Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of America, East have given their overwhelming approval to the Pattern of Demands for the 2011 Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and major television networks.
A total of
UPDATE: Insiders are telling me that, contrary to this WGAE announcement (below), the WGA has not won this election — yet. One of my sources says, “Both sides are a long way from being in a position to legitimately claim a victory. A number of votes have …
Not so fast! Shortly after the L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti announced that the writers on shows for the Comcast Entertainment Networks have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a WGA representation, Comcast struck back, dismissing the vote as a “non-binding poll” and asking again for a NLRB-sanctioned election, which is a lengthy procedure.
Yesterday the WGAW conducted a non-binding poll with some of our employees purporting that it was an “election,” and this morning L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti announced the results. We want to make it very clear to our employees, the press and the interested public that union elections are governed by federal law, and overseen by the National Labor Relations Board, the government agency officially charged with such oversight for the past 75 years. This was not an NLRB-sanctioned election and has no binding effect. This non-binding poll was in direct conflict with the NLRB-sanctioned process for union organizing which ensures that all eligible employees are permitted to vote on such an important matter as union representation.
Comcast Entertainment Writers Voted Today Whether To Unionize And Join WGAW: Results Announced Wednesday
I had predicted Hollywood could most likely expect quick and easy negotiations. And the DGA’s took just three weeks and change. And why not when your Hollywood Guilds are just rubber-stamping what crumbs the studios and networks are feeding SAG/AFTRA and DGA members despite this rapidly improving economy? The Directors Guild Of America leaders made it plain early on that they weren’t going for big wages or even a substantially better New Media deal (despite promising it would during the last bargaining go-round). Instead the DGA negotiators were focusing on increased Health Plan and Pension contributions, just like they were for SAG and AFTRA. The AMPTP’s current contributions are at 14% for the DGA, and probably go to 16.5% on the new contract if ratified. So that’s three big Guilds down, and only the Writers Guild of America still to go.
No date for the start of negotiations has yet been set for the WGA, whose contract ends May 1, 2011. But the moguls behind the AMPTP always intended to negotiate with the writers last (even though their pact was expiring sooner) to ensure there’s the most Hollywood antagonism towards them. Although SAG/AFTRA and the DGA traded information during their talks, they’ve left the WGA out in the cold. Now you can expect a lot of silly trade stories filled with false rumors about WGA “strike talk” in order to scare the Industry which in turn will pressure the writers to settle quickly. Don’t get me wrong: no one wants another strike so soon. But that also doesn’t mean that the WGA has to wimp out like the other Guilds. Excuse me, but wasn’t this year when all the Hollywood Guilds were going to join together and fight, fight, fight, for what is rightfully their share of the money pie? Anyone? Anyone?
The following statement was issued today by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP):
The Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have successfully concluded a tentative agreement on a new TV/Theatrical contract, again demonstrating the benefits of an early deal for the entire entertainment industry. These early talks allowed us to bridge the gaps created by uncertain economic times and deliver increases in areas critical to DGA members.
The DGA’s chief negotiator Gil Cates said the following:
Los Angeles – The Directors Guild of America today announced that it has concluded a tentative agreement on the terms of a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
Negotiations, which began on November 16, concluded this afternoon. Details of the tentative agreement will be released once the agreement has been submitted to the Guild’s National Board for approval at a special board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, December 8.
The DGA’s current contracts expire on June 30, 2011.
This afternoon, there was an unexpected development in the battle over union organizing by the writers of Comcast Entertainment Group who’ve engaged the Writers’ Guild of America West for the purposes of collective bargaining with their employer. (CEG …
The crowd on the picket line at The Biggest Loser ranch is expected to be significantly larger tomorrow after the LA County AFL-CIO affiliate today endorsed the IATSE-led strike by the reality series’ crew and vowed to send picketers from some of the 350 unions and more than 800,000 unions …
STRIKE DRAMA: IATSE Promises Its Pickets Will Face Strike-Breakers At ‘Biggest Loser’ Monday; Shame On NBC And Liz Murdoch
As you know, Deadline TV Editor Nellie Andreeva has been keeping you up-to-date on every development of this breaking labor story. (‘Biggest Loser’ Production To Resume On Monday With Replacements) Now here’s my opinion: NBC needs to put an immediate stop to this disgusting situation before someone gets hurt. Shame on the broadcast network for embracing a show that’s now bringing in scab workers on Monday to replace striking IATSE members. NBC can and should put its foot down after 10 seasons of airing The Biggest Loser and use its influence with Shine Group’s Reveille Productions and 25/7 Productions, and JD Roth’s and Todd Nelson’s Eyeworks-owned 3 Ball Productions, to stop the confrontation. And I’m calling on NBC Universal Television Group President/COO Jeff Gaspin to get personally involved. I’m also calling on Shine’s Elizabeth Murdoch to consider her prominence in the entertainment biz and do the right thing.