LOS ANGELES – Members of the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike that could shut down many Hollywood film and television productions, the union announced Monday, October 4.
“IATSE members in TV and film production voted to authorize the first nationwide industry strike in our 128-year history,” the union announced on Twitter on Monday.
According to the union, 98.68% of the members who cast the ballot voted yes, and about 90% of the eligible members voted.
The vote gives the union’s international president, Matthew Loeb, the right to call a walkoff as the union and coalition of motion picture and television producers continue to struggle over a range of issues primarily related to working conditions, but not streaming. Also for increased revenue from other “new media.”
Authorization doesn’t automatically mean that there will be a strike – only that Loeb now has the right to walkout if talks fail to move toward a resolution.
The union represents “workers down the line” such as production and department coordinators, writers’ assistants, cinematographers, costumers, grips, script supervisors, technicians, designers and others.
Voting began on Friday, and a large number of approvals were expected.
In response to the vote, AMPTP immediately issued a statement on Monday, saying it is “committed to reaching an agreement that will keep the industry working. We deeply value our IATSE crew members.” And are committed to working with them to avoid shutting down the industry at such critical times, especially as the industry is still recovering from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“A deal can be done at the bargaining table, but it will require compromise on both sides with a willingness to work together and find new solutions to address open issues,” the makers’ statement said. “
In recent days the union leadership had “strongly encouraged” its rank-and-file to vote “yes” on strike authorization.
13 Hollywood local unions are involved in contract negotiations.
“We are fighting to ensure that the most powerful media corporations on the planet treat the film and TV workers who produce their content with basic human dignity,” according to the union.
The talks have been stalled for some time.
On September 21, the union announced that, “After months of negotiation of the Producer-IATSE Basic Agreement, and the successor contracts to the Theatrical and Television Motion Picture Area Standards Agreement, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) announced . ..It is not intended to be a counter-offer to the most recent IATSE offer.”
“During the bargaining process, AMPTP has failed to work with us to solve the most serious problems in their workplaces.”
However, the AMPTP issued a statement on 23 September stating that the talks had broken down and the talks were postponed to 3 September, “just a few days after they had begun.”
“At that time, both parties agreed that they would continue negotiating the Area Standards Agreement shortly after the Hollywood IATSE Original Agreement bargaining resumed on September 9. AMPTP took steps just before the parties agreed to leave IATSE is yet to respond,” the statement said.
The producer group said: “It is unfortunate that IATSE has gone on the path of publishing false information about the talks. This approach unnecessarily polarizes the bargaining parties and increases tensions at a time when we have to face strikes.” The focus should be on finding ways to escape.”
The AMPTP said the strike would have a “disastrous impact on the industry and would inevitably cause thousands of IATSE members to lose their income, fail to qualify for health insurance benefits, jeopardize funding for the pension scheme and hamper production.” Pour out.”
“Manufacturers are committed to reaching an agreement at the bargaining table that balances the needs of both parties and will keep the industry working,” the statement from the manufacturers also said.
According to the union’s website, among the major issues are:
– “highly unsafe and harmful working hours”;
– “Unusable wages for the lowest paid craft”;
– “Persistent failure to provide proper rest during meal breaks, between weekdays and weekends”; And
– “Those working on some ‘new media’ streaming projects get paid less, even on productions with budgets that rival or exceed traditionally released blockbusters.”
Last week, Representatives Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, and Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California, joined 118 U.S. Senators and members of the House in sending a letter to the AMPTP, urging the association to negotiate collaboratively and in good faith. to be done.
The letter followed an action by the Los Angeles City Council earlier in the week, in which four council members urged AMPTP and the union representing skilled crew and craftsmen to bargain in good faith and come to an agreement. A vote by council members was not immediately determined.