Local 481 and the IATSE filed a grievance that went to arbitration against NBC/Universal because the studio refused to cover under IATSE contract the person doing the work of a Set Decorating Coordinator (SDC) on the feature film "R.I.P.D." This is the first and so far only grievance under the Area Standard Agreement that has not been resolved and gone to arbitration.
After 10 days of testimony over 2 years we are pleased to report that the Arbitrator found in favor of IATSE Local 481. WE WON!
It means that the arbitrator agreed with the Union's position that work performed by the Set Decorating Coordinator on "R.I.P.D." is work that is or has been traditionally performed by an Art Department Coordinator, Set Decorator, and/or Buyer and therefore MUST be covered by the contract (the IATSE Area Standards Agreement). As a result, the SDC will receive all the terms and conditions of the contract, including nearly 150 days of benefit contributions that Universal refused to pay during the production.
It also means that future productions nationwide must cover this work or face a grievance and arbitration with the same costly result.
Specifically, the Coordinating duties in the Set Decorating department that the arbitrator agreed must be covered under the IATSE agreement include:
1. Tracking the Set Dec Dept. budget which includes: managing incoming Set Dec Dept invoices, cash receipts, and credit card receipts and compiling and dispensing weekly Set Dec Dept. cost reports;
2. Issuing and processing Set Dec Dept. POs and check requests;
3. Working with accounting to set up accounts with vendors and coordinate contracts and other correspondences (agreements, rental contracts, liability waivers) between the Set Dec Dept. and vendors;
4. Doing phone and on-line research or purchasing of sets or set dressing for the Set Decorator and Buyer;
Someone who is working in a position covered by the IATSE agreement must perform these duties. Assigning these duties to a Production Assistant or another person who is not covered by the IATSE contract is a violation of that contract.
If as an Art Department Coordinator, Set Decorator, or Buyer, you are asked or told by production to assign these duties to a PA, you must inform them that you cannot because it is covered work and please notify the business office immediately.
If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact the business office immediately.