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Netflix joins Hollywood studio producers’ alliance

Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos pose in front of the Netflix logo.
Netflix Chief Executives Reed Hastings, left, and Ted Sarandos in a file photo.
(Associated Press)

It happened with no fanfare, but a Hollywood alliance secured a valuable new member earlier this year.

Netflix, which has led Hollywood’s surge into streaming, joined the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers earlier this year, according to people with knowledge of the membership. The powerful entertainment industry group so far consisted of the traditional studios such as Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. as well as Netflix’s tech rivals Amazon and Apple. Netflix had until this year been a notable exception.

Netflix and the AMPTP declined to comment.

The AMPTP is Hollywood’s official collective bargaining representative, the face of Hollywood when it negotiates against the industry’s powerful unions such as SAG-AFTRA and IATSE, which represent hundreds of thousands of film and TV workers. Netflix’s joining the trade association highlights just how integral it has become to Hollywood and follows its joining of the Motion Picture Assn. in 2019. Becoming part of the AMPTP gives it a seat at the table in negotiations over working conditions, including how streaming residuals are parsed.

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Netflix was party to the return to work agreement struck by the organization and announced last week, which provided for producers to mandate vaccinations for crews or drivers for workers in Zone A of sets, which are those that work close to actors who tend to be unmasked during filming.

The unions will allow vaccine mandates for those workers on a production by production basis, but workers can be exempt if they can provide verification that they have a disability or sincerely held religious belief that prevents them from being vaccinated, according to the terms.

The ability to vaccinate crews has been important to producers who have been struggling to secure insurance and financing for their productions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Producers have been asking unions for months for permission to mandate vaccination on sets.

Independent film producers are still hampered by the effects of the pandemic.

Netflix has asked all of its U.S. productions to require vaccines, according to a person familiar with the move. Deadline first reported the vaccination request.

In 2019, Netflix negotiated its own collective bargaining agreement with SAG-AFTRA as it was not party to the existing AMPTP deals with the union.

The trade association, formed in 1982, was responsible for negotiating virtually all industry-wide guild and union contracts, including those with American Federation of Musicians, the Directors Guild of America and Teamsters, Local 399 among many others. It negotiates 58 collective bargaining agreements on behalf of hundreds of producers.


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