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Historically Female Craft, IATSE Local 871 Art Department Coordinators, Take On The AMPTP For Pay Equity

The entertainment industry in Los Angeles is not devoid of pay equity issues along gender lines.

The entertainment industry in Los Angeles is not devoid of pay equity issues along gender lines, as much as it would like to think it is. I’m not just talking about the A-list female actresses that don’t get as much as their male counterparts. I am talking about the below-the-line, historically female crafts that have been kept behind the pay scale of their substantially similar male counterparts for decades due to systemic gender bias. These crafts have a lot of catching up to do.

Their pay scales are outdated and stem from an old Hollywood era that, quite frankly my dear, just needs to be put to bed.

Besides the fact that the majority of crafts in the entertainment industry are still white-male dominated, the historically female ones have been served a pay equity blow from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) during prior negotiations. One such craft is the Art Department Coordinators (ADCs) in IATSE Local 871. They, along with Assistant Production Office Coordinators, other Local 871 crafts, and other historically female crafts in other Locals, like Set Decorators and Hair Stylists, have suffered form pay imbalances for too long.

To make a long story short in the last round of Basic Contract negotiations the AMPTP counter offered IATSE Art Department Coordinators with an unbearably low scale rate. This rate is 50% less than their IATSE substantially similar crew counterparts, just above minimum wage and barely a livable wage. Sad thing is, it did actually bring up the rate for a few low paid ADCs. However, it set the precedent that producers could lower all ADCs rates to this scale. And they did.

That is, until the ADCs fought back. Through careful organization, banding together and solidarity, the ADCs have been able to fight Producers on these rates, and now they have taken matters into their own hands. The ADCs have launched an IATSE union wide petition against the AMPTP to demand pay equity, and a livable wage. They have launched a campaign with the hashtags #demandAMPTPpayequity, #itstimeAMPTP, #iasolidarity and #unitedwestand. This below the line craft is raising its collective voice, and so far almost 2000 signatures are with them.

See Petition here — bit.ly/equityforADCs

In this #TimesUp era within the entertainment industry, now is the time to rectify these issues. Pay equity is one of the gender biases that must come under scrutiny, along with sexual harassment. Systems and practices for reparations have got to be put in place to amend the inequality.

It’s not enough that panels and commissions are popping up to challenge and watchdog these issues. What we need to see is action to right these wrongs. Carol Lombardini, the head of the AMPTP, actually took part in the first meeting of the Entertainment Industries Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace*. I hope that these commissions and panels are not merely empty promises of reform and rectification, but become real attempts at remedying the industry’s current issues. The AMPTP can start by giving a fair and equitable scale minimum to the hard working historically female crafts, like the ADCs.

Basic Contract negotiations are just around the corner, they take place mid March early April, and the AMPTP have the power to raise ADCs scale rate to something closer to their substantially similar crew counterparts. It will be interesting to see how Carol Lombardini and the AMPTP react to the petition and the presentation of Local 871 during these negotiations. Stay tuned for how it plays out!

Till then, here is where you can support the ADCs grassroots effort , even if your not in a union you can stand in solidarity and sign as a member of the public- bit.ly/equityforADCs

It’s time their worth is recognized, it’s time this systemic gender bias be rectified, and it’s time that management be held accountable for trying to keep these crafts under their thumb. Take a look at the facts, check out their workload, and sign the petition.

*Ref. Deadline Dec 19, 2017- http://deadline.com/2017/12/hollywood-unions-sex-harassment-scandal-contract-provisions-ahead-of-curve-1202230186/