Hollywood Shutdown May Still Happen After Anger At IATSE Agreement


Anybody who’s worked on a major production knows that unions hold a lot of power in Hollywood. In a vampiric industry renowned for squeezing every penny out of its talent, they fight for the rights of the many workers who make blockbusters happen.

Over the past few weeks, there have been grumblings from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (the IATSE), who safeguard hair and makeup artists, electricians, propmakers, cinematographers, and editors. The current disagreement stems from their new contract about working conditions on set, which almost led to a strike beginning today.

On Saturday that appeared to have been averted, with the IATSE reaching an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (the AMPTP) that contained provisions for 10-hour “turnaround” times between shifts, 54-hour weekend turnarounds, and 3% wage increases for each of the next three years. The deal also includes improved wages and working conditions for streaming productions, and a living wage for low-paid workers.


At the time the IATSE negotiators billed this as “a Hollywood ending”, but now there’s disquiet amongst the members that the agreement doesn’t go far enough.

Variety has quoted unhappy members saying “Basically nothing has changed. I have not heard a single person saying they will vote yes”, “The 10-hour turnarounds — that’s the same shit that’s already in my contract. Why would I be excited about that?”, and “I feel like our leadership has let us down again.”

The ratification vote isn’t expected to be held for several weeks, meaning IATSE union bosses are going to have to launch a PR campaign to convince their members to back the deal. If they turn it down then it’s back to the drawing board for negotiations, and back to facing a full-on Hollywood shutdown.

Looks like this “Hollywood ending” has a post-credits scene teasing the next big bad on the horizon.