Hollywood union reaches contract agreement over streaming pay to avoid strike

The union representing thousands of film and television production workers has reached a tentative agreement with studios, averting an strike that was set to begin Monday.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) had been negotiating with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents major production studios like Netflix, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, and Disney. IATSE sought improved working conditions, including weekend rest periods and higher pay scales on streaming shows for its members, who work in many behind-the-scenes roles in Hollywood, such as broadcast technicians, animators, and makeup artists.

The new three-year deal, which still has to be ratified by members, includes retroactive wage increases of 3 percent annually, daily rest periods of 10 hours and weekend rest periods of 54 hours, according to a post on IATSE’s website. It also includes “improved wages and working conditions for streaming,” but no specific details on what that includes.

Streaming was a major sticking point in the negotiations; under IATSE’s existing contract streaming productions received “greater flexibility” regarding pay and benefits to workers. That’s because when the contract was negotiated in 2009, streaming was a new industry with an unclear market. But streaming has become a billion-dollar industry in the years since, and IATSE argued that the pay structure for streaming productions should be adjusted accordingly.

The deal will stave off a walkout that would have had a major impact on Hollywood. But IATSE said negotiations are continuing on a separate contract for people who work on movies and shows produced in other parts of the country, including New York, New Mexico, Georgia, and Louisiana.