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HBO, Showtime, STARZ - Successful Contract Negotiations

Contracts with HBO Entertainment, Showtime and Starz are the primary term contracts covering pay cable television production.

The HBO Entertainment negotiations were led by President Loeb and began in October 2010.  The goal of the IATSE was to bring the rates, terms and conditions under the HBO Entertainment contract to par with those with the major studios.  Historically, the HBO contract contained a lower rate scale and lesser terms and conditions than those found under the major studios contracts in New York and the Basic Agreement in Hollywood.  This situation evolved from the time when the IATSE recognized HBO’s unique circumstances during entry into pay cable production.  The company now, however, has firmly established its place in the industry, and in fact had approximately 2 million hours of IA covered employment in 2010.  The aim in this season of negotiations was to achieve parity with the majors agreements during the term of the new contract.  This goal was accomplished.

By the termination of the contract in 2014, the wage rates in New York and Hollywood will be equal to the studio contracts in those respective regions.

The new contract is for a four year term commencing January 1, 2011.  Wage rates in Los Angeles will increase 4.5% effective in January 2011.  In January 2012, the wages will increase by one-third of the difference under the then current HBO Entertainment scales and the then current Basic Agreement rates.  In January 2013, another remaining third of the gap will be made up.  In January 2014, the rates will increase the remaining one-third to achieve parity with the Basic Agreement rates.

In New York, wage rates will increase by 3.5% on January 1, 2011, and will continue to increase in a similar formula as in Los Angeles.  In addition, many of the terms and conditions in the New York HBO Entertainment agreement will be at par with those in the Local 52 New York Majors Agreements.

In the Production Cities, the rates will continue to be tied to the Basic Agreement Movie of the Week scales.  In the non-Production Cities, the wages will increase by 2% on January 1, 2011 and another 2% on January 1, 2012.  In 2013 and 2014, the wages will increase by the same amounts to be negotiated with the AMPTP in the successor Area Standards Agreement.

In the area of benefits, contributions to the MPIPHP will track AMPTP-negotiated contribution rates. The union has the ability to reallocate money from the IAP to the Health Plan.  All other contribution rates will increase $5.00 per person, per day, for each year of the contract term.

In addition to all the wage increases, a bonus was paid to all those employees who worked on HBO Entertainment productions during the first 10 months of 2010. Approximately 5000 employees received a pro rata bonus for their work from a $1.8 million bonus pool.

President Loeb noted that the Locals and their members repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the HBO contract and expressed his commitment to listen and be responsive to their needs.

The Showtime and Starz contracts were negotiated subsequent to the HBO agreement.  Patterned results were achieved.