Hollywood drivers ratify labor deal, avert strike

Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:53am EDT
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By Jonathan Handel

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The union blinked -- but for the right reasons.

In a surprising reversal, Teamsters members agreed Sunday morning to the "last, best and final" offer from studios, averting a strike by Hollywood transportation workers and others.

Teamsters head Leo Reed, in a standing-room-only membership meeting in Burbank, asked the members present to vote for the deal, conceding on a major wage point in exchange for relatively minor enhancements that were achieved in backchannel negotiations Saturday afternoon.

Upon Reed's recommendation, the union membership voted 97.3% in favor of the deal, about 840-20.

Talks between the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP), representing the studios and independent producers, ended Friday night with no movement and no new negotiating sessions scheduled.

"It's a good contract," Reed told The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm very happy."

Members at the meeting appeared happy as well, repeatedly applauding most deal points and thanking Reed and his team. Only one person, union activist Gary Watts, rose to speak against the pact.

The AMPTP also praised the deal. In a statement released Sunday afternoon, the studio organization said: "The newly ratified agreement provides solid increases in wages, benefits and work opportunities for members of the Hollywood Teamsters while recognizing the economic realities that continue to challenge the industry."   Continued...