Donna Young of the IATSE Local 700 Film Editors Guild writes a message about fair wages for all in a union vehicle during a rally at the IATSE Local 700 Editors Guild on Sunday, September 26, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Myung J. Chun | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
Hollywood’s behind-the-scenes unions voted overwhelmingly to authorize an industry-wide strike.
The International Theater Workers Alliance said 90% of eligible voters voted over the weekend, with more than 98% supporting the sanctioning of the strike.
“The members said loud and clear,” said Matthew Loeb, president of IATSE in a statement Monday. “This vote concerns the quality of life, as well as the health and safety of those working in the film and television industries. Our people have basic human needs like lunch breaks, proper sleep, and weekends. At the bottom of the wage scale, they deserve no less than the cost of living.“
The vote came after months of unsuccessful negotiations between the union and the Film and Television Producers Alliance, which represents the major film and television companies.
This decision allows the IATSE to go on strike if negotiations with AMPTP remain deadlocked. This is the first time in the 128-year history of the IATSE that union members have sanctioned a nationwide strike.
In a statement, AMPTP said it remains committed to reaching an agreement that will allow the industry to operate.
“We deeply value our IATSE crew members and are committed to working with them to avoid stopping the industry at such a critical time, especially as the industry is still recovering from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic,” the group said.
IATSE represents a wide range of industry professionals, from studio mechanics to wardrobe and makeup artists. In total, he acts on behalf of 150,000 crew members in the United States and Canada, about 60,000 of whom are covered by ongoing revised television and film contracts.
The union is committed to improving working hours, safer working conditions and better benefits.
“I hope the studios see and understand the determination of our members,” Loeb said. “The ball is in their hands. If they want to avoid hitting, they will return to the negotiating table and make us a sensible offer. “
AMPTP said reaching an agreement “will require both parties to work together in good faith, willing to compromise and find new solutions to resolve outstanding issues.”
His contract with AMPTP, which entered into force in 2018, ended July 31 and was extended until September 10. IATSE Calls For New Three-Year Agreement This would give behind-the-scenes workers higher wages, lunch breaks, better contributions to insurance and retirement plans, and a greater share of the profits from streaming production.
These demands came after one of the most turbulent periods in the industry, when producers weathered a global pandemic so that studios had content that could be delivered to consumers.
The pandemic has also irrevocably altered the manufacturing ecosystem. For 18 months, consumers stayed at home watching TV shows and movies. This rise in views has given streaming services such as Netflix, Disney +, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video huge increases in subscriptions and subscription fees.
It has also prompted these platforms to seek more content and increase production. This means that IATSE workers were forced to work more hours as the number of projects increased, but compensation does not meet this requirement, the union said.
Of course, the studios also faced difficult financial decisions during the pandemic, as cinemas were closed for nearly six months, and even when they reopened, moviegoers were in no hurry to return. Many companies have chosen to release films simultaneously in theaters and on streaming services. While this helped to increase the number of subscribers, it ultimately led to the cannibalization of the box office.
An industry-wide strike will essentially stop Hollywood production, just like the writer’s strike 14 years ago. This strike between 2007 and 2008 led to the reduction or rescheduling of new seasons in many shows and the cancellation of others.