IATSE  Members Narrowly Pass Contract by 0.6% Margin – S.C Bus Drivers Strike – Akron Bus Drivers Strike Blocked

Strike signs being prepared in Burbank as 60,000 IATSE members prepare to strike (Twitter @runolgarun)

Greetings from the Burgh, where it’s been a hectic day as I’ve been desperately trying to find a dental clinic that will remove a broken wisdom tooth. 

Keep on donating so we can get back to work. 

IATSE  Members Narrowly Pass Contract by 0.6% Margin

In an unusually high-turnout vote, IATSE announced today that a proposed tentative agreement narrowly passed by a .6% margin. 

Under IATSE’s complex voting system, a contract passes if a majority of its members vote for “basic agreement,” which covers workers based in Hollywood, as well as the “area agreements,” which covers film production workers not based in either NYC or LA. 

A majority of IATSE union members in LA voted against the proposed deal, with 50.4% of Hollywood-based film workers voting against the “basic” agreement, and 49.6% of Hollywood-based film workers voting for it. 

However, a little more than half (52%) of union members voted for the “area agreement,” with the rest voting against it. As a result of the combined vote total from the members, the union contract narrowly was approved by a majority of IATSE’s 60,000 members by a margin of 0.6%. 

With that, the union contract was narrowly approved by a majority of IATSE’s members, leading the union to narrowly approve the contracts on a popular vote margin of 50.3% (yes) to 49.7% (no).

The election was also one of the highest turnout elections in recent union history, with 72% of the union’s 60,000 members voting.

Many film workers were hoping the proposed tentative agreements would place limits on excessive hours. Studios would have to provide film production workers with a mere 10 hours off between shifts. (Film production workers are routinely forced to work 12 to 14 hours a day.)

The tentative agreement would improve wages for many workers, bringing the salaries of streaming companies in line with studio companies. It would also infuse $400 million of cash into the pension fund, and lastly, offer higher penalties for skipping meals. (A full breakdown of the contract can be seen here.)

But while unions typically let their membership vote on a proposed contract within a week or two, IATSE delayed the vote for nearly a month. During that time period, the union used that time to aggressively push the benefits of the contract to its membership. 

Today, the union’s leadership celebrated the proposed contract passing ratification. 

“From start to finish, from preparation to ratification, this has been a democratic process to win the very best contracts,” IATSE International President Matthew Loeb said in a statement. “The vigorous debate, high turnout, and close election, indicates we have an unprecedented movement-building opportunity to educate members on our collective bargaining process and drive more participation in our union long-term.”

Other members were less happy about it

“I am disappointed,” IATSE member Iván Herrara, whose work was covered by the basic agreement portion of the contract, told Payday Report.    “[IATSE’s] electoral system is what screwed us because the majority voted against the basic agreement.”

Berkeley County, South Carolina Bus Drivers Strike
In Berkeley County, South Carolina, school bus drivers have gone on strike today. The strike follows a trend that has seen school bus drivers strike nationwide demanding higher pay and better treatment after bus drivers have been overworked due to a bus driver shortage nationwide. 

School bus drivers in Berkeley County are demanding to have these issues addressed as well in their school district. 

“We are not being heard,” Yvonne Williams told WSCS. “We are addressing it, but we are not being heard, so today, we would like to discuss being fair to us because of our loyalty to Berkeley County.”

For more, check out WSCS.

National Transport Workers Union takes over Akron Local Following Strike Vote

A strike of Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority bus drivers in Ohio was slated to begin today. However, the strike is now on hold as the executive board of the national union put the local union into temporary receivership. 

For now, decisions for the local Akron union will be made by the national union’s leadership until an investigation of action by the local Akron’s union leadership can be made, as they wanted to assure passengers that there wouldn’t be a strike today. 

“Many of our members here in Summit County reached out to the international union concerned that the local union’s president is no longer employed by Metro,” Willie Brown, the director of the international union’s transit division, told the Akron Beacon Journal. “The strike authorization vote was administered improperly, and adequate notice was not provided to the international union in violation of the TWU constitution.”

For more, check out the Akron Beacon Journal. 


Staten Island Amazon Workers Withdraw Petition for New Union
In Staten Island, the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), a new independent union, announced on Friday that it has withdrawn its request for a union election. 

The union cited high turnover and a sophisticated anti-union campaign by Amazon as the reason it will not go forward with the union election right now. 

“We will resubmit as soon as we can,” ALU leader Chris Smalls told Reuters. 

For more, check out Reuters.


News & Strikes Happening Elsewhere 

Alright, folks, that’s all for today. Donate to our travel fund to cover the Huntington, West Virginia strikes as we’re planning on making a return trip. (Please be sure to check out our story from last week here.)

Also, please consider signing up as one of our 631 recurring donors. 

Hear about walkout? Email me [email protected] to let us know. 

Love & Solidarity,

Melk

About the Author

Mike Elk
A protege of the late Bill Greider, Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered the labor movement & the drug war in Brasil and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2016, he used his $70,000 NLRB settlement from being fired in the union drive at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Email: [email protected]

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