Hollywood employees vote to authorize strike, studios put together for talks

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Hollywood studios and a union that represents about 150,000 off-screen employees will head again to the negotiating desk Tuesday after employees voted to authorize a strike that threatens to deliver the business to a halt.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees stated Monday that its 60,000 members who’re lined by the present manufacturing contracts being renegotiated voted overwhelmingly to authorize the strike.

More than 98 p.c of ballots forged had been in help of authorizing a strike, the union stated.

“The members have spoken loud and clear,” Matthew Loeb, president of IATSE, stated in an announcement Monday. “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. 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.”

The vote permits IATSE to provoke a strike if it’s unable to make progress on contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents main movie and tv manufacturing firms.

It’s the primary time within the union’s 128-year historical past that members of the union have approved a nationwide strike, which may deliver the business to a grinding halt, delaying manufacturing and pushing again launch dates, the group stated.

Mike Miller, vice president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) speaks to members.
The strike will solely be initiated if IATSE is unable to make progress on contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times through Getty Images

“I hope that the studios will see and understand the resolve of our members,” Loeb stated. “The ball is of their court docket. If they need to keep away from a strike, they’ll return to the bargaining desk and make us an affordable supply.“

AMPTP stated Monday in an announcement that it’s dedicated to avoiding a strike and reaching a deal on contracts that may hold the business going.

“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 group stated.

The AMPTP stated reaching a deal “will require both parties working together in good faith with a willingness to compromise and to explore new solutions to resolve the open issues.”

A poster advocating union solidarity in front of a Costume Designers Guild office building.
This is the primary time in IATSE’s 128-year historical past that members have approved a nationwide strike, which may deliver the business to a grinding halt.
Chris Pizzello/AP

IATSE’s contract with the AMPTP went into impact in 2018 and was slated to finish on July 31, although it was prolonged till Sept. 10.

The union is now looking for larger pay, extra meal breaks, extra relaxation time between shifts, higher contributions to well being and pension plans, in addition to an replace to contracts that displays the success of streaming productions within the business.

Since the 2000s, IATSE’s contracts with AMPTP have referred to streaming tasks as “new media” and the union “recognized that the economics of New Media were ‘uncertain’ and that greater flexibility in terms of conditions of employment were ‘mutually beneficial,’” based on an announcement from August.

“That is simply no longer the case, and the benefits are no longer ‘mutual,’” the assertion goes on.

Pro-labor slogans on a car.
IATSE leaders are looking for larger pay, extra meal breaks, extra relaxation time between shifts, higher contributions to well being and pension plans, in addition to an replace to contracts that displays the success of streaming productions within the business.
Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times through Getty Images

“It is time for employers to recognize the superseding concept they negotiated that same year, that if and when ‘New Media productions became an economically viable medium, then the parties would mutually recognize that fact in future agreements.’”

As a results of these legacy contract clauses, some employees on streaming tasks “are not even paid a specific scale wage or credited with pension hours,” IATSE stated.

Last month, for instance, IATSE stated that Apple claimed its streaming service had fewer than 20 million subscribers in order that it may pay its behind-the-scenes employees much less.

The union hopes to replace its contracts to replicate that “New Media is just Media.”