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Teamsters move closer to settlement with commercial producers

Teamsters and commercial producers reach tentative new agreement

It's looking less likely that members of Teamsters Local 399 will go on strike against commercial producers.

After marathon negotiations that concluded at 2 a.m. Tuesday, negotiators for the Teamsters and the Assn. of Independent Commercial Producers hashed out a new tentative agreement. Union members are to vote on the proposed contract Saturday.

Last week, Teamsters drivers, location managers and scouts, animal wranglers and handlers voted by a 10-to-1 margin to reject a contract proposed by the commercial producers association and to authorize their leaders to stage a walkout should they fail to reach an agreement by the end of the month.

The chief sticking point involved a provision to expand an agreement covering low-budget commercials.

A strike would effectively shut down commercial production in L.A., where nearly half of all commercials are filmed.

Union leaders declined to divulge the terms of the latest proposed contract, but expressed hope that the agreement would pass muster this time with union members. They noted that the revised agreement had been unanimously supported by the negotiating teams for drivers and location managers.

"It's a very positive development," said Steve Dayan, secretary-treasurer for Teamsters Local 399. "If members ratify it, I think we're going to avert a strike. This contract will keep the town humming."

Teamsters Local 399 has 4,500 members, about 800 of whom work under the commercials contract. A strike over a commercials contract would be a first for the union, which last went on strike in 1988 in a dispute over the main film and TV contract.

Twitter: @rverrier

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