New union pact means better pay and conditions for streaming production crews

IATSE's deal helped avert a last-minute strike.

Ken Woroner/Netflix

The union representing film production crews has avoided a strike with an agreement that will see its members paid up to 30 percent more on streaming productions, The Verge has reported. The deal represents a win for International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) workers, who have typically been paid less for streaming shows than theatrical film productions and broadcast TV series in the US.

In an informational brief, IATSE tweeted that wages will increase for long-form, episodic and mini-series at up to 30 percent, depending on the classification. Those boosts depend on the size of the streaming company, with rates higher for services with 20 million or more subscribers. Longform productions between $20 and $32 million used to get discounts if they were headed to streaming services, but that will no longer be the case.

On top of higher wages, members will also see improved workplace conditions. That includes employer funding of health and pension plans, along with revised terms for producers that tend rely a lot on overtime. In addition, "workers under the IATSE Basic Agreement across the US will be entitled to the same sick leave benefits as California members," the union stated.

IATSE had warned that it would be taking a hard line with streaming services. "The most profitable companies on the planet do not need cut rates that were negotiated to address a once emerging distribution method. Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook should all pay industry standard wages to the professionals who crew their productions," the union told Deadline in July.

IATSE members unanimously voted to strike this week if contract negotiations stalled, but that was narrowly avoided by a tentative agreement between the union and AMPTP group representing producers. However, it still needs to be ratified by union members, who could vote against it and send the parties back to the table.