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.
RT if you stand with us in this fight.https://t.co/mN96UCLF29
— IATSE // #VoteYES (@IATSE) September 21, 2021
With an overwhelming amount of approval, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union members have authorized a nationwide strike against film and TV productions of Hollywood, via CNN. The strike could stall the production of the whole nation, including those of many giant networks such as CBS Studios, Columbia Pictures Industries, Warner Bros, and more. The decision was made by roughly 60,000 film and television workers that consisted of a 90% voting turnout, tripled the turnout three years ago when members ratified their contracts.
“The members have spoken loud and clear. This vote is about the quality of life as well as the health and safety of those who work in the film and television industry.” Matthew Loeb, the president of IATSE, announced the news on Monday. “Our people have basic human needs like time for meal breaks, adequate sleep, and a weekend. For those at the bottom of the pay scale, they deserve nothing less than a living wage.”
If a strike happens, projects under the Basic Agreement, the Area Standards Agreement, and the Videotape Agreement will be impacted. Most films and TV shows are produced under the Basic and Area Standards Agreements. The Area Standards Agreement generally covers workers employed in areas that are not New York and Los Angeles. The Videotape Agreement covers projects such as reality shows, game shows, and talk shows. That being said, the potential strike could cause a major disruption to the film and TV industry.
Loeb is now pushing a negotiation between IATSE and AMPTP, the Alliance of Motion Picture Television Producers. The negotiation will focus on issues such as higher pay for the workers, improvements to on-set conditions (including longer rest and meal breaks), and larger contributions to health and pension benefits. Prior to the approval of the strike, the two groups failed to reach an agreement on these items. “I hope that the studios will see and understand the resolve of our members,” Loeb said in his interview with the Los Angeles Times, “ The ball is in their court. If they want to avoid a strike, they will return to the bargaining table and make us a reasonable offer.”
“The AMPTP remains committed to reaching an agreement that will keep the industry working,” AMPTP responded in a statement. “We deeply value our IATSE crew members and are committed to working with them to avoid shutting down the industry at such a pivotal time, particularly since the industry is still recovering from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.” The leaderships of the two unions are scheduled to have a meeting over zoom for further negotiation on Tuesday, 11 am. Carol Lombardini currently serves as the president of AMPTP.
Loeb believes that a strong turnout and a landslide result give IATSE leverage in the negotiation table. The result sends companies a strong and determined message that workers demand better treatments and conditions, or they will walk out. It also confirms that the majority of workers are not satisfied with their wages. As Loeb told the members, “We are at a stage where the employers have made this struggle about power, not reason. Therefore we are initiating a strike vote to authorize me to call one if necessary. It is crucial that every member understand the seriousness of this matter and return their ballot in favor of the strike vote. A clear decisive message will be sent.”
The last major Hollywood strike is when the Writers Guild of America failed to reach an agreement with AMPTP in 2007. The strike lasted 100 days and affected the production process of almost every film, tv show, and talk show. However, the potential IATSE strike will become the first nationwide strike in the 128-year history of the union, if it happens. As for now, members of Congress, top-tier Tinseltown stars, and Hollywood’s other unions have all expressed support for IATSE.
FULL support and solidarity to @IATSE workers in their vote to authorize a strike.
90% turnout with 98% voting yes is an incredible accomplishment. It’s exactly the kind of mass-movement organizing we need right now.
May your example inspire others! Stay strong💪🏽 we’re with you https://t.co/QUVv0dX0P0
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 4, 2021
“The vote passed with 98 % support and 90 % turnout.”
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) October 4, 2021
— Hilarie Burton Morgan (@HilarieBurton) October 4, 2021
98.68 percent of @IATSE members just voted to authorize a nationwide strike for fair pay, adequate rest, and breaks.
This is the biggest private sector strike in the US in 10+ years, and the first in the industry’s 128-year history.
A milestone moment for the labor movement.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) October 4, 2021