Commercial Production Coordinators

Questions and Answers

As you have likely heard, Local 871 is currently reaching out to Commercial Production Coordinators who we believe are covered by the IATSE Commercial Agreement. If you are a Commercial Production Coordinator and want information about this campaign, please contact Crystal Hopkins at

Read the latest update here...

Local 871 has begun outreach to Commercial Production Staff as we believe that employees in the positions of Production Manager, Production Supervisor, Assistant Production Manager, Assistant Production Supervisor, and Commercial Coordinator are performing work covered by our Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Association of Commercial Production Companies (AICP).  As employees doing covered work, Production Companies should be having you complete union timecards, and should be making contributions on your behalf to the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans.

We have approached the AICP and are in the process of further investigation of this issue in preparation for moving forward with the enforcement of our Agreement.  As we speak with Production staff, we are receiving many questions about what this means and how union representation would benefit employees.  On this page, we will respond to questions as we receive them, so if you have any questions about this issue, please send them to Local 871’s President, Crystal Hopkins at

Why would you be interested in Union representation?  What are the advantages of working union?

•      Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans – All Production Companies that are signatory to an IATSE Agreement are required to make contributions into the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plan on behalf of covered employees.

     The monthly premium paid by the employee for individual coverage is $0, for one dependent is $25 and for full family coverage is $50.  You can choose between Kaiser, and Anthem Blue Cross PPO, or a Health Net HMO.

•     After 5-years you vest in a defined benefit pension which provides a monthly income when you retire.

•     In addition, your employer is contributing to an Individual Account Plan (or defined contribution plan) which, like a 401(k), provides you with an additional lump sum upon retirement.

•     The contract provides for time-and-a-half on the 6th day worked in a week, and double time on the 7th.

•     When issues arise, you would have a union Business Representative available to represent you.

•     Most importantly, by gaining union representation, you would gain the ability to have issues related to wages, hours and working conditions negotiated by your union rather than unilaterally imposed by the Production Companies.

You say that you believe our positions are covered by the AICP-IATSE Agreement.  How do you plan to make this happen?

Our contract with the AICP provides for dispute resolution through a Grievance and Arbitration procedure.  This means that the union can file a Grievance against a company for violation of our contract for not providing your classifications with MPI benefits.  If the Grievance is not resolved through informal discussions, the case is then presented to an Arbitrator, who issues a decision.  The Arbitrator’s decision is then binding on the parties.  We are currently in the process of collecting information and preparing to file grievances against one or more Production Companies. 

If the AICP doesn’t agree to cover your classifications, will Local 871 and the IATSE give up?

No.  We believe that your classifications are covered by our contract.  We also believe that there is no excuse for your positions to be treated differently from the rest of the crew when it comes to unionization.  You have the same right to good health insurance and retirement benefits for your family as does everyone else.  The International is supporting our efforts and we will continue to push this issue until you are covered and a part of our union.

What if you have an arbitration, and you lose?  Will Local 871 accept that our positions aren’t covered?

Not if you don’t.  Just like everyone else who works in commercials, you have the right to be represented by a union.  Even if it were determined that our current Agreement with the AICP doesn’t cover your positions, you have the right to organize and gain union representation.  We are here to help you with that process, until you gain the representation and benefits that you deserve.

If We’ve Been Covered All This Time, Why Hasn’t This Happened Before?  Why now?

When the IATSE has raised the issue of Production Coordinators with the AICP in the past, they have taken the position that the job duties in Commercials are not similar to those performed by Production Coordinators in Film and Television.  Now that we have spoken with enough of you, it is clear that this is not the case.  The Production Companies are utilizing you “in the same manner as traditionally used in the motion picture industry.”  We believe that our existing contract covers you and we plan to move forward with enforcing our contract.

Is Local 871 just interested in Production Coordinators, or are you also interested in Production Supervisors and Production Managers?

Local 871 is interested in representing anyone on the Production team who performs the duties included in Local 871’s Production Coordinator Job Description.  The title that the Production Company has given you is irrelevant.  It is the work that you perform that is important. 

In the event that the Arbitrator finds (or the AICP agrees) that some, but not all, of these positions are covered, we would then need to organize the rest of you. This is why we are asking everyone to sign an Authorization Card at this point.  An “Authorization Card” (which is never shown to management) is a card in which you authorize the IATSE to act as your bargaining representative.   Please return signed cards to Crystal Hopkins at

How Much are Local 871 Dues and Initiation Fees?

Local 871 will be waiving Initiation Fees for all Commercial Production Staff joining the Local for a period of 6-months from the date when the contract is applied to employees in these classifications.  If you are interested in joining at this time, you need to submit proof of working 30-days in one of the covered classifications on an IATSE signatory commercial  or 100-days on non-union commercials.  For information about joining you can contact Ellen McCrea, our Member Relations Coordinator at

The Quarterly Dues rate for Production Coordinators (which would apply to Production Managers and Production Supervisors) is $141.69.  The quarterly dues rate for Assistant Production Coordinators (which would apply to Assistant Production Managers, Assistant Production Supervisors or Commercial Coordinators) is $97.51.

How Does the Producer’s Health Benefits Plan Compare with Motion Picture Industry Health Benefits?

The Producers Health Benefits Plan (PHBP) is a voluntary health plan, which employers can choose to provide or not provide to their production employees.  Motion Picture Industry (MPI) health benefits are negotiated benefits for employees covered by an IATSE Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Signatory companies must make contributions to the Plans for covered classifications.  Changes can be made to the PHBP plan at any time if the production companies decide to do so.  Any changes to benefits provided through MPI must be negotiated with the IATSE.

PHBP health benefits are significantly more expensive than MPI benefits.  Participants pay $0 for individual coverage in both plans.  However the difference in cost for dependents is huge.

PHBP [1] 
Spouse/Domestic Partner  $250  $25  
Child  $250  $25  
2 Dependents  $350  $25  
3 Dependents      $450  $50 [2]  

Under MPI, employees also have a choice of enrolling in an HMO (Kaiser or Health Net) or a PPO (Anthem Blue Cross).  PHBP provides one plan, an Anthem Blue Cross PPO.  The Co-Pays and Annual Maximum Out-of Pocket expenses are higher under the PHBP plan.  For more information about the MPI benefits, please go to

How do Motion Picture Industry Pension and IAP Plans Compare to What I have Now?

Currently there are no retirement benefits offered to non-union Commercial production employees. 

Under the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans, there are actually two retirement plans.  Both of these plans are paid for by contributions by the employers.

The first of these plans is a defined benefit plan, in which participants are provided with a monthly pension upon retirement.  The amount of the pension is based on number of years and hours worked under an IA Agreement.  You must have 5-years in the Plan to vest in the defined benefit pension.

The second is an Individual Account Plan to which the employers contribute 6% of the Minimum Scale Rate.  You are vested in this Plan after 1-year.

For additional information about the MPI Pension and Individual Account Plans, you can also go to

If We Become Members of Local 871 Will We Still Be Able to Work on Non-Union Jobs?

IATSE does not prohibit our members from working on non-union jobs.  What we do ask is that when you work a non-union job, you report your work and send us a call sheet as soon as you have one.  (Members of the crew from all Departments do this.)  

If I want to help with this effort, what can I do?

First and foremost, we are asking each and every one of you to sign a confidential Authorization Card for each Production Company for whom you’ve worked for the past 6-months.



[1] Prior to Local 871 beginning outreach to Commercial Production Staff, PHBP rates were significantly higher:            Spouse/Domestic Partner: $371.59; Spouse/Domestic Partner + 1 Child: $520.86; Family: $928.38.  We are happy that these rates have come down, but the cost still doesn’t compare to MPI.


[2] The cost for full family coverage is $50 for MPI.  Under PHBP, the first dependent costs $250, and each additional dependent is an additional $100.

Authorization Card

Production Coordinator Job Description

A couple of months ago, some Production staff sent us an e-mail that they had received from the Head of Production at Caviar.  The e-mail along with our response is available here.

If you are told something about the IATSE or unions by production company management, please forward the information to us so that we can provide you with our response.  It is important that you base your decision on accurate information.