IATSE, Comast Reach Tentative Freelancer Pact

The International Assn. of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) said Tuesday that it has reached a tentative agreement with Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic covering freelance broadcast technicians in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

The pact covers home and away games for about 60 techs that help produce the Washington Wizards and Capitals, as well as regional college sports games for Comcast Sportsnet.

The agreement came after 40 technicians staged a one-day strike on Dec. 19, which left network managers to cope with the Captials’ game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

According to IATSE, this represents the first freelancer contract made directly with Comcast, as opposed to a subcontractor. In New York, Chicago and San Francisco, the same jobs are covered by contracts with either crew or trucking companies.

The tentative agreement, which IATSE expects to be ratified by the bargaining unit before mid January, concludes 15 months of negotiations that have failed to produce an accord.

Freelancers last fall voted overwhelmingly to join the IATSE following a National Labor Relations Board-supervised election.