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HBO Original Programming

The Negotiating Committee was successful for a new three year agreement with HBO Original Programming and thanked the IATSE negotiating committee for their helpful assistance.  The committee consisted of John Ford, Joseph A. Aredas, Michael F. Miller, Rosemarie Levy, Thom Davis, and George A. Palazzo.

The terms of the new agreement are the following:

- Rest period increased to ten (10) hours.

- Improved contract language regarding “walking meals” to ensure producers provide a “reasonable opportunity” for IATSE crews to sit and eat.

- Mileage rate increased to mirror current IRS rate (an increase of $.30 to $.37 per mile).  Rate is applicable in both directions for all “outside the zone” transport, which is of particular note for California crews who must drive to distant locations.  This mileage tie to the IRS rate has never been agreed to by any Hollywood studio or production entity.

- Maximum travel deduction time placed on rest period, resulting in a guaranteed eight (8) hour rest period between calls on distant locations.

- Clarification that IATSE jurisdiction includes aerial/balloon lighting.

- Recognition of Marine Department in the classifications of marine coordinator, boat handlers, and on-set picture boats.

- Wage increase percentages based on scale rates: 3% in Y1, plus 3% in Y2, plus 3.5% in Y3, compounded.

- Benefits to track the Hollywood Basic Agreement, including IAP increase from current level of 4% to 4.5%, August 1, 2004, and 5%, July 31, 2005.

- Wage increases gained for costumers: 8% in Y1, 5% in Y2 and 3% in Y3, compounded.

- Confirmed agreement to cover multi-camera half-hour sitcoms, which HBO has expressed interest in producing.

- Beginning with January 1, 2005, IATSE will receive the same formula for payments for Pay TV products going into supplemental markets as used by SAG (Screen Actors Guild).  That formula excludes the first 100,000 units sold, with payments to equal 6% of the employer’s gross % thereafter.  With HBO this would essentially apply to video and DVD rentals and sales. Supplemental market payments are made to IATSE Pension and Health Plan.

- A $75,000 one-time settlement payment into the actives section of the Motion Picture Health and Welfare Fund with respect to past-due supplemental markets from Pay TV.

The issue of supplemental and new residual-bearing markets has been a contentious one with both HBO and the industry as a whole.

Getting Hollywood’s largest pay cable producer to recognize IATSE’s participation in existing supplemental markets and those which will develop in the future through new technologies, was an industry precedent.  IATSE negotiators also ensured that all supplemental market modifications would also apply to HBO Films, even though that contract does not expire until August 31, 2005.  HBO Films has produced such critically acclaimed long-form programming as Miss Evers’ Boys, Angels in America, and Iron Jawed Angels.

President Short stated that: “The improvements we were able to get in this contract will most certainly lay out a pattern for future discussions on the HBO Films contract, as well as for contracts with other Pay Cable producers looking to do original programming.  The gains we made in the supplemental markets issue is one of the big stories of this HBO contract.  The future of television programming will almost certainly include new technologies like On-Demand, and multiple producers looking to replicate HBO’s success.  IATSE members deserve to share in those revenues.”

It was noted that Canada is also protected under this agreement in terms of IATSE jurisdiction.

In accordance with Article Seven, Section 2 of the IATSE Constitution and Bylaws, the General Executive Board approved and ratified the agreement.