Film Television Workers Union announces strike start next week



Los Angeles – The union representing the film and television crews said its 60,000 members would start a nationwide strike on Monday if it fails to reach a deal that meets the demands of just and safe working conditions.

A strike would end the shooting of a wide range of film and television productions and extend far beyond Hollywood, affecting productions in Georgia, New Mexico and other North American shoots.

International Alliance of Theater Workers International President Matthew Loeb said on Wednesday the strike would start at 12:01 a.m. Monday unless an agreement was reached on rest and meal periods and pay for his less well-off workers paid.

Loeb cited a lack of urgency in the pace of negotiations to set a strike date.

“Without an end date, we could go on talking forever,” Loeb said in a statement. “Our members deserve to have their basic needs met now. “

A strike would be a serious setback for an industry that has recently returned to work after long pandemic shutdowns and recurring aftershocks amid new outbreaks.

As in other industries, many people behind the scenes began to reassess their lives and the demands of their profession during the pandemic. And now that production is on the rise again, union leaders say “catching up” leads to worse working conditions.

“People have reported that working conditions are deteriorating and getting worse,” Jonas Loeb, IATSE’s communications director at the AP, said last week. “And those 60,000 behind-the-scenes workers who are under these contracts are really at a breaking point.”

It would be the first national strike in the 128-year history of the IATSE, whose members include directors of photography, cameramen, decorators, carpenters, hairdressers and makeup artists, animators and many more.

Union members say they are forced to work excessive hours and do not get reasonable rest through meal breaks and enough free time between shifts. Executives say the lowest paid artisans receive unliveable wages. And streamers like Netflix, Apple, and Amazon are allowed to pay even less under previous deals that allowed them more flexibility when they were newbies.

“We have continued to try to make employers understand the importance of our priorities, the fact that they are human beings and that working conditions concern dignity, health and safety at work,” said said Rebecca Rhine, National Executive Director of the Filmmakers Guild, IATSE Local 600. “Health and safety issues, unsafe hours, not interrupting meals, have been the exception for many years in the industry, which is a tough industry. But what they have become is the norm.

The union reported on Oct. 4 that its members voted overwhelmingly to allow its president to authorize a strike, but negotiations and hopes of avoiding a walkout resumed after the vote.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios and other entertainment companies in negotiations, said its members value their team members and are committed to avoiding a shutdown in an industry that is still recovering. AMPTP did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

“A strike is always difficult for everyone. Everyone is suffering, it is difficult, but I believe that our members have the will and the determination to do what is necessary to be heard and for their voices to be translated into real change in the industry, ”said Rhine. “What we have learned from the pandemic is that employers can change the way they do business if it is in their best interests to do so.”



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