The membership of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees has voted to ratify a new three-year agreement, ending the threat of the first national strike in the union’s history. The contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers was ratified despite opposition from many members who felt it did not do enough to address oppressive working conditions on set, including long hours and a lack of timely rest periods.
Heading toward a near midnight Sunday deadline, IATSE members now have their ballots to vote on a new three-year deal with producers. The nearly 60,000 members of the below-the-line union received emails this morning starting around 6 a.m. PT prompting them to login in and digitally cast their vote.
The drama is not over. The contract must still be ratified, and many members quickly denounced it on social media. The rank and file had organized online in support of a historic strike authorization vote, sharing the pain and frustration of toiling behind the scenes in Hollywood, in hopes of getting better working conditions and pay. To them, the deal felt like the status quo. It’s not clear whether that opposition is broad enough to kill it with a no vote on the ratification — but the leadership has more work to do.
After days of marathon negotiations, representatives from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and from the studios and entertainment companies who employ them reached the three-year contract agreement before a Monday strike deadline, avoiding a serious setback for an industry that had just gotten back to work after long pandemic shutdowns.
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.
Claudia Eller: It will be a downright fiasco if the leadership of Hollywood’s studios, networks and streamers doesn’t do everything in its collective bargaining power to prevent the labor union representing camera operators, editors, production designers, grips and other workers from going out on strike.
Negotiations between the studios and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees are expected to continue on Wednesday as the sides try to avoid a strike that would shut down production and immediately cripple Hollywood’s content pipeline. In what could be taken as a sign of progress, the two sides are not saying much publicly about the negotiations.
It’s typical for Hollywood’s labor unions to support for each other during labor disputes, but the support for IATSE during its current contract dispute with film and TV producers goes beyond the usual labor solidarity. That’s because the below-the-line workers’ union could be setting a standard for all future Hollywood contracts in the streaming era.
In an overwhelming show of union solidarity, IATSE members have voted to authorize a nationwide strike against film and TV productions if last-ditch negotiations with the AMPTP fail to produce a fair deal. The vote — 98% in favor — now gives IATSE President Matthew Loeb indisputable authority to call a strike if he and AMPTP President Carol Lombardini can’t reach an agreement in the coming days.
“If you are working on commercials or for HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, BET or another company that has a contract still in effect – you must keep working,” IATSE informed its members. “You will not be a scab!” (Image: HBO; IATSE; BET)
The reality of an imminent labor strike in Hollywood is beginning to sink in — one that could halt film and TV production in the U.S. and Canada just as it has resumed following a long pandemic-fueled shutdown. As an authorization vote looms next weekend among the 13 West Coast locals International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, below-the-line workers in the guild say they’re feeling a sense of unity. (Image: IATSE)
IATSE’s strike-authorization vote will be getting underway soon. Grips Local 80 said that it will hold its vote from October 1-3, and Prop Local 44 told its members at a virtual town hall Wednesday night that they’d be be voting on the same dates. IATSE has said that all 13 West Coast studio locals will hold their secret ballot votes “simultaneously.” (Image: IATSE)
Leaders of the Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, are urging their members to vote “overwhelmingly” to authorize a strike against the film and TV industry. The guild’s board, meeting on Tuesday, voted unanimously to recommend that members back the strike authorization after negotiations with the AMPTP for a new Basic Agreement broke down.
The streaming wars have wrought worn-out legions of workers dealing with brutal production schedules, 15-hour workdays, and corner-cutting on meal breaks. And it looks like at least one union has had enough.
IATSE is now gearing up for a second strike against the film and TV industry. With the union and its 13 West Coast studio locals already threatening to strike over terms for a new Hollywood Basic Agreement, IATSE is now seeking a second strike authorization vote for a separate contract covering film and TV work in much of the rest of the country.
“Today, the AMPTP informed the IATSE that they do not intend to respond to our comprehensive package proposal presented to them over a week ago,” the union leaders said in a message to members. “This failure to continue negotiating can only be interpreted one way. They simply will not address the core issues we have repeatedly advocated for from the beginning.”
IATSE is continuing to prepare its members for a possible strike or a lockout if it can’t make a deal with management’s AMPTP for a new film and TV contract. The union’s current contract was set to expire on July 31, but was extended through Sept. 10, the union says, “in an effort to exhaust every opportunity to make a deal.”
The relationship between the show and the folks who make it began to shift in March, when the latter were informed that Ray would, in response to the rapid spread of COVID-19, shoot the remainder of the 2019-20 season remotely from her house in upstate New York without on-site assistance from anyone beside her husband — and that displaced crew members would not be paid for the five scheduled shoot days remaining in the season. That move prompted a dispute by IATSE, which claimed that its contract with the show covering 18 union camera operators, audio engineers and other technical crew requires producers to pay those furloughed workers for all remote shoot days that had originally been planned for the studio.
More than 15,000 people have signed a petition from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees asking Sinclair Broadcast Group to improve its recent offer to unemployed broadcast technicians. The petition was circulated after IATSE criticized Sinclair’s plan to loan money in response to the coronavirus pandemic through a multi-million-dollar emergency fund that offers an interest-free advance of $2,500 to the 1,000 sports network freelancers who work at its Fox regional sports networks and Marquee Sports Network.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The union representing freelance technical employees who work on live sporting events for Pac-12 Networks went on strike Saturday.The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees wants to establish area standard wages and benefits for the freelancers who work on the network’s telecasts. About 100 union members picketed outside Galen Center, where […]
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Union picketing has brought a temporary halt to second-season production of the NBC reality show “Fashion Star.” About 70 members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees picketed the show Saturday at Hollywood Center Studios, prompting producers to cancel a taping and dismiss a studio audience. IATSE official Vanessa Holtgrew […]
The new extension of the Area Standards Agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers runs through July 31, 2015 and includes 2% annual wage increases and an increase in health plan contributions of $5 per day in each year of the three-year agreement (i.e., $5/day the first year, $10/day the second, and $15/day the third).
IATSE and The Biggest Loser production company Reveille said Monday that a tentative agreement has been reached between the union and the production company that gives the crew health benefits and ends the strike against the show.