Members of Hollywood’s Teamsters Local 399 have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new three-year film and TV contract. The vote, counted tonight, was 89% for ratification and 11% against, with 67% of the eligible members casting ballots. The local did not release the actual vote totals.
The agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers includes higher wages, more overtime penalties and additional benefits to secure their industry pension and health plan. And for the first time, the new contract includes a budget-based new-media deal that eliminates the lowest rung on the pay scale – a substantial pay raise for those who would have been working at it going forward.
“Our rank-and-file members have been with us every step of the way throughout these negotiations,” said Lindsay Dougherty, Local 399’s lead negotiator. “Our goal as the negotiating committee was to address our members’ core issues and leave no money on the table. Together, we were able to creatively make economic gains, secure a New Media deal that eliminates low tier wages, and protect the important contract provisions that our members both past and present have fought so hard for. Our members ultimately had the final say on their contract. Their overwhelming vote in favor of ratification gives me the confidence that they were heard loud and clear through this round of bargaining.”
Economic gains include 3% wage increases retroactive to August 1; an additional $10 per day in meal money ($50 total); $3 cell phone allowance added per day; and Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid holiday.
Working conditions improvements include triple time after 16 elapsed hours and, to discourage shortened weekend turnarounds, they’ll get 54 hours off or be paid additional overtime for the invaded time.
The local’s “Black Book” agreement covers drivers, animal trainers/handlers, wranglers, dispatchers, mechanics and auto-service workers employed in the film and TV industry in the 13 Western states.
The Basic Crafts unions also are covered by the pact, and their members are voting to ratify this week. Laborers Local 724 voted unanimously to ratify the deal at a membership meeting on Tuesday, and IBEW Local 40, Studio Plumbers Local 78 and Studio Plasterers Local 755 are expected to ratify it by Friday.
AMPTP president Carol Lombardi was the chief negotiator for the companies. Dougherty, Local 399’s recording secretary, business agent and organizer, was recently elected as one of four vice presidents representing the Western Region of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters – marking the first time that Local 399 has had a seat on the parent union’s General Executive Board.
Dougherty is the first woman to serve as the Hollywood Basic Crafts and Teamsters Local 399 lead negotiator, and Local 399 has been bargaining with the AMPTP for agreements covering studio transportation drivers for over 80 years.
Also ratified through a separate vote was an addendum agreement to the Black Book covering chef assistants and chef assistant-drivers working on film and TV productions. The chef assistants, who were organized into the local in 2020, took part in their first round of negotiations simultaneously with the Hollywood Basic Crafts. They approved their contract by a near-unanimous vote – 98.4% to 1.6%, with 72% of eligible members casting ballots.
“Our chef assistants and chef assistant-driver group are arguably some of the hardest working people in production, and we are grateful to have them as part of our Teamster family,” Dougherty said. “They work around the clock to keep our crews well fed. By way of these negotiations, our Committee was able to secure significant living wage increases and retirement benefits that bring them closer to industry standards. Something they have deserved for far too long.”
Dougherty will also be leading upcoming negotiations with the AMPTP for Local 399’s agreements covering location managers and casting directors, which are expected to begin soon.