It’s official: the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union members have agreed to two revised two-year contracts with the TV commercials industry, preventing a strike that threatened to begin on February 1st.

Who are the Teamsters? They are 4,500 union members from 14 Western states, and approximately 800 of them work under the commercial contract. Specifically, they include commercial location scouts and managers, and commercial drivers.

Their union’s current contract is to expire January 31st, and so the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) sought new provisions with them hoping to expand an agreement covering low-budget commercials. The new language sought to extend the contract to commercials that spend up to $125,000 per day–an increase from the maximum level of $75,000 per day. The provision would have made payments to be tiered based on the budget level. 

The Teamsters were worried the provision would amount to considerable cuts in their pay rates. As a result, they were ready to start picketing come February 1st.

The producers, on the other hand, sought the incentive as an inducement to keep work in California. Although California passed the CA Film & Television Job Retention & Promotion Act to keep Hollywood projects here in California rather than fleeing to other states and countries that offer lucrative tax incentives, the promising act did not include commercial productions to benefit from the incentives. According to Matt Miller, the president and chief executive of the AICP, “[The provision] was designed to be mutually beneficial and create additional employment opportunities for members in Local 399 [Teamsters], as well as growth within the industry.”

Almost half of all commercials are filmed in the L.A. area, and the strike would have effectively stopped commercial production in Los Angeles.

With the potential strike averted, and the Job Retention Act kicking in, California actors are sure to benefit. So get out there and get your piece of the pie–and eat it up!

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