IATSE and Studios ‘Constructively Engaging’ on AI as Talks Near Critical Point

After two months at the bargaining table, IATSE and the major studios have begun talking about one of the key hurdles to getting a new contract artificial intelligence

Published Time: 11.05.2024 - 03:31:38 Modified Time: 11.05.2024 - 03:31:38

After two months at the bargaining table, IATSE and the major studios have begun talking about one of the key hurdles to getting a new contract: artificial intelligence.

The union is seeking to ensure that the adoption of AI will not displace jobs. In an update to members on Friday evening, the union advised that the two sides are “constructively engaging” on the issue, as well as on wages and other working conditions.

Talks on the Basic Agreement, which covers 45,000-50,000 crew workers, began last week and are scheduled to run through next Thursday. At that point, it may become clearer whether a deal can be reached without resort to a strike authorization.

“The goal of these negotiations is to ensure that our contracts keep pace with the rapid evolution of the entertainment industry,” Matt Loeb, IATSE’s international president, said in the update. “In many cases, the language in the previous agreements no longer works for our members. We are constructively engaging with employers to upgrade it and adapt our contracts to current working conditions.”

The contract is set to expire on July 31, and leaders have said they hope to have a new agreement ratified by that point. The two sides spent much of last week discussing how to cover a $670 millio -

n shortfall over the coming contract term in the pension and health plans. The union is seeking a new streaming residual that would supplement the hourly contributions, which are the main source of funding.

The Basic Agreement covers 13 locals based in Los Angeles. The two sides are are scheduled to take up the Area Standards Agreement, which covers another 23 locals around the country, beginning on May 20.

That agreement typically tracks with the Basic Agreement in most respects. The talks on the Area Standards Agreement set to run through May 31, with an extra day of negotiations recently added to the schedule on May 28.

The studios reached tentative agreements in March and April with each of the 13 West Coast locals. Those deals cover issues unique to each craft, but not the big-picture items like pension and health funding and general wage increases. The locals include the Motion Picture Editors Guild, the International Cinematographers Guild, and the Art Directors Guild.

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