Teamsters at Local 399 in Hollywood, Calif. overwhelmingly voted to ratify a new three-year contract that includes solid wage increases and maintains one of the best health care plans in the country.
Approved by 86 percent of the voters, the contract covers the more than 3,500 members that handle transportation for motion picture and television in Hollywood. This includes drivers, mechanics, auto service and dispatchers on a wide range of projects from network, cable and reality television to independent films and big-budget motion pictures.
“While this contract wasn’t perfect, there were no takeaways or rollbacks because the 2% wage increases each year compounded for 3 years more than make up for the premiums,” said Leo Reed, Motion Picture and Theatrical Trades Division Director. “Given the current economic climate, that was a real victory.”
Local 399 was able to negotiate an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) that will go a long way to cover a $425 million shortfall in the health and pension plans. The majority of the deficit in the funds will be covered through employer contributions and minor contributions from the membership.
“By ratifying this contract, our members will still have the same premium health care plan they had for years with little to no impact on their wallets,” Reed said.
The contract, which takes effect on Aug. 1, 2012, also includes annual wage increases of 2 percent compounded each year.
“I think our union did a great job negotiating the contract,” said David Cohen, an eight-year member of Local 399 who is currently working as a studio driver at Universal. “I believe that with the way the economy is right now we could have lost a lot – especially with our health care plan, but I believe Leo did a great job protecting our benefits and maintaining our medical insurance.”
With contract negotiations for Location Managers and Casting Directors on the horizon, Local 399’s work is not done.
“With this agreement, I believe we have set the foundation for successful negotiations with the AMPTP for our Location Managers and Casting Directors,” Reed said. “There is no doubt in my mind that we can continue our union’s tradition of offering the best representation in the Motion Picture and Theatrical Trades.”