IATSE Script Supervisors & Production Coordinators Local 161 Fighting For “Pay Equity” As Contract Talks Begin Monday

IATSE Local 161which represents the east coast script supervisor, production coordinator and accountants, will begin negotiations with AMPTP on Monday for a new film and TV contract. Wage equity is a major issue, said Dawn Mountain, chairman of the local and chairman of its contract negotiation committee. Mountain, an experienced production coordinator whose credits include noble And codenoted that 66% of Local’s 1,400 members in 23 states are women, and that local production coordinators are paid “significantly less” than department heads in male-dominated crafts.

“It’s an equity issue,” she told Deadline. “Our production coordinators, who act as heads of departments and run a staff of five to 10 people, are the center of communication between the studio and what’s happening on set. We manage a million different things. We do, and we have a million different job titles and we are not paid as heads of departments. We are not paid the same as a construction coordinator, for example, or a gaffer or a best Boy

“For production coordinators, there is no department-head rate. In New York, the scale rate for a production coordinator, which is of course the head of a department who runs an entire office, serving the communications and logistics center as a whole, is higher than any other department in New York. Less than a third is paid. Head. And an assistant coordinator earns about 50% less. So, we are far behind other department heads.”

On its website, Local notes that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers “practices bargaining patterns, which typically result in a 3% increase across the board. Since larger numbers yield 3% of larger numbers.” This pay disparity for coordinators increases annually. Without commensurate compensation for mind-numbing hours of work, our coordinators have enough. We hope employers have the clarity to identify this injustice and correct it. would have the courage to do so.

“Our rates were set long ago, when we were supposed to be secretaries and script girls,” Mountain said, “and unfortunately, pattern bargaining keeps you down for too long until you realize you’re all your own.” How far behind are the Sangh Kin, especially the more male-dominated craft. And you look around and start comparing your rates and ask, ‘How is that possible?’ And it’s very easy to see when you started with almost 100% women in a craft and their rates are super, super low. It’s not hard to connect the dots.”

Local 161’s West Coast counterpart, IATSE Local 871, received significant pay increases for its lowest-paid members during IATSE’s contract negotiations last November, and Mountain said it was “a good starting point” for its local as well. Is. “We’re hoping to build on those gains, use them as steps to acquire a little more equity.”

He said that another major issue for the local people is to get contractual recognition for the members working as accountants. “Our accountants, although they have been members for 20 years, are not accredited by the AMPTP, and therefore do not have the same protections. They do not get things like overtime and guaranteed turn-around so that they get a proper rest at night.

She said the locals expected the AMPTP to voluntarily recognize the accountants as members of the bargaining unit. “We’re going to go with a really positive view that we’re going to work very closely with AMPTP to come up with some good basic agreements, and that’s one of our main goals, to get them recognized in this contract. “

Locals also represent script supervisors, who are in charge of maintaining consistency and taking notes for editors and working closely with the camera department. They have a head-of-department rate, but Mountain notes that they also charge a fee whenever more than one camera is being used, a fee set at $40 in 1984 and then It has not increased since. “It’s still $40 today, which is roughly $15 in today’s money compared to 1984 money.”

“After this pandemic,” she said, “and the historic agreement between guilds, unions and AMPTP to get us back to work safely, I have full confidence in the world that we will be able to work together on this and more. To make more equitable agreements.”