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IATSE Deal: AI as a Tool, with Limits

The new agreement between IATSE and major studios allows for the use of artificial intelligence as a tool, with some limitations and protections for workers. This development comes on the heels of recent strikes by the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA, which also addressed AI concerns in their new contracts.

The Breakdown

  • Workers can request a "consultation" about AI use and charge a "kit rental fee" for using their own AI systems.

  • AI use cannot be outsourced to non-union labor, and no employee will be forced to input prompts that displace other union workers.

  • Existing contracts provide severance pay and retraining for job losses due to "technological change," which includes AI.

  • IATSE workers must give separate consent to AI scanning, and it cannot be a condition of employment.

  • Employers retain the right to bar employees from using AI in their work but must indemnify workers from legal liability if they permit AI use.

  • The agreement provides for quarterly meetings with individual employers and bi-annual meetings with the studio group to discuss AI.

  • The union negotiated a 7% increase in the first year, followed by increases of 4% and 3.5%, along with over $700 million in increased funding for health and pension plans.

Final Take

The IATSE agreement demonstrates the ongoing efforts by unions to adapt to the growing presence of AI in the entertainment industry while protecting workers' rights and benefits.

As IATSE International President Matt Loeb stated, "Sometimes new jobs are created with new technology. My hope is that some of the efficiencies and/or advantages of AI will filter down to the crews."

This deal sets the stage for further discussions and negotiations as AI continues to shape the future of film production.

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