Hollywood Production Workers Authorize Union to Strike, Citing Excessive Hours, Poor Pay

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A strike by more than 150,000 IATSE members will stop production of shows and films, potentially costing studios and streaming services millions of dollars.

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A strike would cripple Hollywood as it emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic slump and would bring production to a near-standstill, throwing studio plans for future films and shows into turmoil and immediately costing millions of dollars. Will come This is the first time in the 128-year history of IATSE that a nationwide strike has been authorized.

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The overwhelming support for the strike authorization comes amid a month-long protest between IATSE and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, a consortium of studios and streaming services that includes Netflix. Inc.

and apple Inc.

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IATSE members have called on employers to guarantee better working conditions – including relaxed and less-strenuous hours – and better wages on streaming productions, in this next three-year deal.

“The members have spoken loudly and clearly,” said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb. “This vote is about the quality of life as well as the health and safety of those working in the film and television industry. Our people have basic human needs such as time for meals, adequate sleep and weekends. For those at the bottom of the pay scale, they deserve nothing less than a living wage. “

As many industries are still coming back from their pandemic crisis mode, from airlines to distribution centres, Hollywood has seen workers demand a change in the status quo and a better work-life balance to return to work. For IATSE, this has resulted in a mobilization effort that has drawn attention to the less glamorous aspects of working in entertainment. For months, cinematographers, prop artists, and other crew workers working across Hollywood have led to what the streaming-era growth in production has described as unfair and unsafe working conditions.

Social media fueled the effort during interactions between IATSE and the studio over the past several months. On Instagram, members raved about longer hours, lower pay, and days with fewer meals or sleep. In recent days in Los Angeles, car windows have been decorated with the IATSE insignia, and drivers have been urging passersby to sound the horns in support of the strike.

There should be an agreement between IATSE and AMPTP soon, otherwise there is a risk of strike.

“AMPTP is committed to reaching an agreement that will keep the industry working,” said an AMPTP spokesperson. “We deeply value our IATSE crew members and are committed to working with them to avoid shutting down the industry at such a critical time, especially since the industry is still reeling under the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. recovering from the fall.”

The strike likely comes at a particularly vulnerable time for studios and streaming services. Production has ramped up after the Covid-19 shutdown or delays in dozens of movies and TV shows, and streaming services are set to cut back on offerings and risk losing customers.

Largely in Hollywood’s collective memory is the Writers Guild of America’s 2007 strike, which lasted more than three months and involved picket lines forming outside studio gates. The controversy grew out of the Guild’s frustration with the compensation associated with online distribution. IATSE talks with AMPTP conflict with a sequel to such concerns – how its members are paid by streaming services fueling increased production.

A petition circulated among IATSE members states that members on streaming projects “get paid less, even with budgets that rival or exceed those of blockbusters that have traditionally been released.”

Mr Loeb at the IATSE said he told the studio of the authorization vote on Monday morning, although it is unclear when the two sides will resume talks.

Erich Schwartzel [email protected] Feather


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