IATSEIATSE today announced a tentative new three-year deal with film and TV producers represented by the AMPTP, well in advance of the July 31 expiration of the Hollywood Basic Agreement. The pact, which still requires membership ratification, calls for a 2% wage increase for IATSE crew members in each of the three years of the contract.

The main issue in negotiations, which had broken off once before, was pension and health benefits. A projected $350-$500 million contribution shortfall over the next three years would have threatened the pension and health plan from the MPIPHP, according to the union. Negotiators agreed to a $1 per hour increase to the health plan contribution from employers, a 20% raise over the $5 per hour currently being paid.

For their side, IATSE member participants with dependents will now pay a health plan premium: $25 per month for one dependent, $50 per month for two or more. Member participants without dependents will continue to pay zero premium, according to the union.

The parties agreed to shift 30.5 cents per hour from the Individual Account Plan to the Active Health Plan in order to help stabilize it. IATSE International President Matt Loeb pointed out that moneys had been reallocated from the health plan to the IAP in the past, and that a re-balancing was necessary at this time.

IATSE also agreed to expand the Studio Zone to be in line with other industry unions and guilds, and confirmed a long standing practice of promoting basic cable TV production in Los Angeles.

Negotiations took place over the course of more than three weeks, and though they had broken off once, the second round of talks generated a tentative agreement in one day. IATSE’s negotiating committee approved the new deal unanimously; it will next be sent to union members for ratification.

“The second round of negotiations has resulted in a fair deal that will provide employment stability, protect our health and pension plans and provide for wage increases in a fragile economy,” said Loeb in a letter to IA members.