The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), representing 60,000 Hollywood stage hands, has followed through on threats to strike against Hollywood production companies. The union announced that members demanding a living wage and safer workplaces in contract renegotiations will go on strike Monday, Oct. 18th if the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) does not meet their reasonable demands for more humane work conditions.
The unprecedented move comes after a nearly unanimous vote earlier this month to grant IATSE President Matthew Loeb the power to call a strike against AMPTP. The trade association, which represents Hollywood mega-corporations like Walt Disney Co., Warner Bros, Amazon, Apple, and Netflix refused to counter offer IATSE requests during bargaining talks on the Producer-IATSE Basic Agreement and the Theatrical and Television Motion Picture Area Standards Agreement, which had already been extended through September to allow for renegotiations. While the strike seems to have pushed the talks back into motion, Loeb said in a statement published on Twitter that “the current pace of bargaining doesn’t reflect any sense of urgency. Without an end date, we could keep talking forever.”
As before, IATSE continues to insist that it does not want to strike, but that workers have been given no choice. Their demands include better standards to improve workplace safety, reasonable hours and breaks during workdays, and a wage that reflects the changing conditions of production schedules and costs of living in Los Angeles.
IATSE represents over 150,000 crew members in the U.S. and Canada. While the Basic Agreement effects around 60,000 workers mostly based out of L.A., chapters representing the nation’s camera operators, editors, and cinematographers also fall under the purview of the contract. As such, the promised strike will be felt from coast to coast. We previously covered the particularities of where and how a strike will impact the production and consumption of film and TV.
It is now up to the monopolistic licensors, producers, and distributors of the entertainment industry to meet workers’ basic needs, else impose a strike that will halt film across the country.