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Hollywood Basic Crafts Negotiations Broach Film, Television Tax Credit

Hollywood Basic Crafts Negotiations Broach Film, Television Tax Credit

The expansion of California’s film and television tax credit program was a major topic of conversation in the first week of negotiations between studios and streamers and the Hollywood Basic Crafts coalition, according to the unions.

Per the Teamsters Local 399, which is a member of the labor group, a “common theme” of the week was unions expressing their drive to improve the state program. “It is our members — and their stories — that impact this important middle-class job creation program. An incentive program that ultimately the employers also benefit from,” Hollywood Basic Crafts chairperson and Local 399 principal officer Lindsay Dougherty said in a statement on Friday night. “We are committed to a continued partnership with these employers to increase the work here in California, but increasing work here in the state will not be done by making any concessions on behalf of our members throughout these negotiations.”

Despite the fact that California’s tax credit program was extended five more years in 2023, the emergence of a state ballot measure that seeks to secure voter approval for tax increases proposed by the governor and legislature has put it in jeopardy, according to some advocates. The “Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act” has irked labor unions including industry crew group IATSE and SEIU. Moreover, fears of “runaway production” to other states and countries have ballooned as California-based crew members have suffered amid a production slowdown after the 2023 writers and actors strikes.

While the current contract negotiations between the Hollywood Basic Crafts and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers won’t affect the state-run program, the unions appear to be making a bid to further partner with the studios on strengthening the tax credit.

During their initial week of negotiations, the unions and the AMPTP also exchanged initial proposals and made opening statements. According to the Teamsters Local 399, talks are scheduled to resume next week.

The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to the AMPTP for comment.

The Hollywood Basic Crafts began targeted negotiations with the AMPTP over wages, working conditions and AI on Monday after previously joining with fellow crew union IATSE to negotiate shared benefits plans. The group — which includes members of the Teamsters Local 399, IBEW Local 40, LiUNA! Local 724, UA Local 78 and OPCMIA Local 755 — collectively represents around 7,600 crew members and is led in negotiations by Dougherty. “We’re looking to be more aggressive in this round of bargaining than the studios are used to seeing,” she told THR the weekend before talks began.

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The Teamsters in particular are looking to significantly boost wages for members, increase financial penalties for overtime and meal breaks, institute staffing minimums in some classifications (in other words: mandate that a certain number of members be hired in certain instances) and protect their members from losing work due to AI and autonomous vehicles. The union is also seeking to claw back some provisions of their agreements that have been lost over time, such as premium pay and more uniform rates (according to the union, currently rates are lowered when drivers, who are all required to have commercial “Class A” licenses, do not drive “Class A” vehicles).

“Our proposals shared this week reflect the marching orders from our members,” Dougherty said in her Friday statement, “and center around the long-due respect and parity our members are owed for their skill, expertise and contribution to this industry.”

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