As if the COVID pandemic hadn’t already wreaked enough havoc on Hollywood, a strike could now be looming. Variety reports that on Monday, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (better, and less clunkily known as the IATSE) called for a strike authorization vote as their negotiations talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers seem to have stalled.
In a statement to its members, the IATSE said:
“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. 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. As a result, we will now proceed with a nationwide strike authorization vote to demonstrate our commitment to achieving the change that is long overdue in this industry.”
The talks between the two organizations began back in May, with the IATSE looking to negotiate a new three-year agreement with the AMPTP that would address the need for more breaks and extended turnaround times between production days, as well as the long hours production professionals routinely put in when working on movies and TV shows.
For its part, the AMPTP says that it has indeed addressed the issues at hand—and that it’s the IATSE walking away from the table. They issued their own statement, which noted:
“The AMPTP put forth a deal-closing comprehensive proposal that meaningfully addresses the IATSE’s key bargaining issues. When we began negotiations with the IATSE months ago, we discussed the economic realities and the challenges facing the entertainment industry as we work to recover from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic… The AMPTP listened and addressed many of the IATSE demands, including paying the nearly $400 million pension and health plan deficit. The package includes substantial improvements in rest periods, increases in wages and benefits, increases in minimum rates for specific job categories and increases in minimum rates for New Media Productions. While neither party is getting everything it wanted this bargaining cycle, this package recognizes the crucial role IATSE crew members play as we continue to move our industry forward and provide employment for thousands of employees who work on productions.”
Dozens of actors, including Bradley Whitford and Natasha Lyonne, have shown their support for the IATSE on social media using the hashtag #IASolidarity.
— natasha lyonne (@nlyonne) September 21, 2021
#IASolidarity. Why? Because as an actors we need to speak up for our friends who make our careers possible. Right now they don’t have a guaranteed meal break. Or a even a MINIMUM of a 10 hour turnaround. Stuff that would make Bezos blush. Speak up. This is nuts. pic.twitter.com/zLeP5dPRgg
— Bradley Whitford (@BradleyWhitford) September 16, 2021
I stand with my @IATSE friends & colleagues who work on our shows’ crews. None of what you see would be possible if it weren’t for the skill, talent, & work ethic of these folks. They’ve been expected to sacrifice their well-being for far too long. #IASolidarity #IAStrike https://t.co/QJScp1AsRg
— Anthony Rapp SAG-AFTRA National & NY Board Member (@albinokid) September 21, 2021
— Jennifer Beals (@jenniferbeals) September 16, 2021
100 percent standing in solidarity with @IATSE Please learn about the fight of the most fundamentally important people in film/tv who make the entire machine run. Without them we are and we have nothing. https://t.co/t3Jbre9xtD
— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) September 21, 2021
Film crews work harder than most people outside the biz would ever imagine. Relentless long hrs under the $$ pressure to get it done right & right now. Not letting my @IATSE colleagues down is part of what drives me on a set. Matriculate that ball down the field. With them 100%. https://t.co/db6abZDxWh
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) September 21, 2021
As The Hollywood Reporter writes: “IATSE uses a delegate system for strike authorization votes, wherein each Local has a particular number of delegate votes and if 75 percent or more of that Local’s eligible members vote to authorize, all of those delegate votes are counted as a ‘Yes.’”