x

Culture

Film TV Workers Union Says Strike to Start Next Week

October 13, 2021

LOS ANGELES — The union representing film and television crews says its 60,000 members will begin a nationwide strike on Monday if it does not reach a deal that satisfies demands for fair and safe working conditions.

A strike would bring a halt  to filming on a broad swath of film and television productions and extend well beyond Hollywood, affecting productions in Georgia, New Mexico and other North American shoots.

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees International President Matthew Loeb said Wednesday that the strike would begin at 12:01 a.m. Monday unless an agreement is reached on rest and meal periods and pay for its lowest-paid workers.

Loeb cited a lack of urgency in the pace of negotiations for setting a strike date. 

"Without an end date, we could keep talking forever," Loeb said in a statement. "Our members deserve to have their basic needs addressed now." 

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

As in other industries, many behind-the-scenes people started reevaluating their lives and the demands of their professions during the pandemic. And now that production is ramping up again, union leaders say the "catch-up" is resulting in worse working conditions.

"Folks have reported working conditions deteriorating and being aggravated," Jonas Loeb, IATSE's director of communication told the AP last week. "And these 60,000 behind the scenes workers that are under these contracts are really at a breaking point."

It would be the first nationwide strike in the 128-year history of IATSE, whose members include cinematographers, camera operators, set designers, carpenters, hair and makeup artists, animators and many others. 

Union members say they are forced to work excessive hours and are not given reasonable rest via meal breaks and sufficient time off between shifts. Leaders say the lowest paid crafts get unlivable wages. And streamers like Netflix, Apple and Amazon are allowed to pay even less under previous agreements that allowed them more flexibility when they were up-and-comers. 

"We've continued to try and impress upon the employers the importance of our priorities, the fact that this is about human beings, and the working conditions are about dignity and health and safety at work," said Rebecca Rhine, national executive director of the Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600. "The health and safety issues, the unsafe hours, the not breaking for meals, those were the exception for many years in the industry, which is a tough industry. But what they've become is the norm." 

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

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

"A strike is always difficult for everybody. Everybody suffers, it's hard, but I believe that our members have the will and the resolve to do what's necessary to be heard and to have their voices translated into actual change in the industry," Rhine said. "What we learned from the pandemic is the employers can change the way they do business if it's in their interest to do so."

RELATED

BERLIN — Hardy Kruger, considered one of post-war Germany's best actors, has died.

Top Stories

Church

NEW YORK - Some 21 years after it was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States that brought down the Twin Towers in New York City, the new St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church rising in its place is among the most eagerly awaited architectural openings of 2022.

Events

STATEN ISLAND, NY – For yet another year, the community of Holy Trinity-St Nicholas in Staten Island honored couples celebrating 50+ years of marriage with a modest ceremony held at the church immediately following the Divine Liturgy on January 16.

Society

NEW YORK – New research into Greek artifacts looted by the Nazis was highlighted in the New York Times on January 18 as “the topic of the Nazi role in antiquities looting is increasingly drawing attention, in part through the work of scholars who are peeling back the mysteries of what happened to the objects that were excavated or seized eight decades ago.

Video

Pentagon Releases First Video of Botched Kabul Airstrike

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has declassified and publicly released video footage of a US drone strike in Kabul that killed 10 civilians in the final hours of a chaotic American withdrawal that ended a 20-year war in Afghanistan.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.