The new three-year interim film and television agreement between the studios and the International Theater Employees Alliance (IATSE), the union representing below-the-line entertainment workers, has yet to be ratified by union members. But as the IATSE base reviews the fine print, their colleagues outside the United States are already building on the deal reached in the 11th hour negotiations this weekend.
As important collective bargaining intensifies in the UK, where workers ‘union below the Bectu Line is concluding a new televised deal with UK producers’ trade organization Pact, and in Germany, as the union of major players BFFS finalizes the details of a global deal. with Produzentenallianz representing the largest film and television producers in the country, the IATSE agreement with the Alliance of Film and Television Producers (AMPTP) is seen “as a real leap forward … it’s an inspiring moment for many unions [outside America] in what is a very difficult self-employment market, ”says Johannes Studinger, Head of Media and Entertainment at UNI Global Union, a Swiss-based coordination group that represents over 20 million workers of over 150 different countries in service sectors, including the film and television industries.
“Many of the issues they addressed are the same all over the world. Trade unions in Europe and other regions have followed the talks very closely and I think they were inspired by the solidarity and determination of the [IATSE] union members, ”adds Studinger.
Responding to Sunday’s announcement of the IATSE deal, Bectu Director Philippa Childs tweeted: “Kudos to @IATSE for standing firm and negotiating hard,” adding “#IASolidarity #UnionStrong”.
Bectu insisted on partnering with IATSE in negotiations in the United States, telling its British members to “do nothing to undermine the action of IATSE” and to refuse work if, in the event of a strike , they were offered to replace a striking member of the IATSE. on a job.
But beyond the rhetoric of worker solidarity, it is unclear what impact the IATSE agreement – assuming it is ratified – will have on trade union action abroad. America’s film and television unions are the largest and most powerful in the entertainment industry, reflecting the size and global dominance of Hollywood. Their counterparts in most countries have much less influence and influence over their employers, many of whom are the same Hollywood studios and streamers that the IATSE leadership negotiated for their deal.
“To be honest I don’t think it will have an impact in the UK because people need to work,” said a UK producer when asked about the IATSE deal. British entertainment unions are “nowhere near as strong” as in the United States, the producer added.
In Germany, the actors’ union BFFS has partnered with ver.di, the country’s largest union, representing workers in all service industries, to demand better working conditions for on-screen talent. Many of the demands, which were made during a five-month bargaining period earlier this year, reflect concerns about long hours and limited turnaround time between shifts, concerns that were at the center. IATSE negotiations. For example, the German agreement requires actors to have a minimum of two consecutive free days twice a month for shoots of 40 days or less and three times a month for shoots of more than 40 days. The IATSE agreement requires a minimum turnaround time of 54 hours on weekends for shoots with five-day work weeks. The German agreement imposes a “48 plus 11 hours” requirement for Friday night shoots, which means actors cannot be forced to work on weekends.
But the most difficult part of the German negotiations, on ladder wages, is still ongoing. It remains to be seen to what extent the local unions will be effective in obtaining real concessions from the producers’ association.
In other countries, union power within the entertainment industry, outside of productions run by teams led by IATSE internationally, is almost non-existent.
“I work in Asia where there are no unions per se, outside of New Zealand and Australia and to a lesser extent in Japan”, explains Nicholas Simon, producer and founder of Indochina Productions, a pan-Asian production services company currently running Gareth Edwards. ‘ future True love in Thailand.
But, Simon notes, if IATSE is seen as a “winner” in its battle against studios, it could “empower teams around the world to hold streamers and their producers / production companies to the test” and demand similar conditions on international shoots.
“It is recognized that it is increasingly a global industry with global employers and that the issues need to be addressed in a more coordinated manner with these multinational employers,” notes Studinger of UNI Global Union. “I don’t have a crystal ball, but in my experience working for the global labor movement in the entertainment industry, what I’ve seen is that over the past five years, it is this cooperation between unions, between my colleagues in the United States, in Europe, in Latin America, in Asia, has increased enormously. Unions are stronger, better organized and have more resources to work together to resolve issues that affect us all.