LOS ANGELES -- If the union representing film and TV crews does not agree to a fair and safe work environment, its 60,000 members will strike across the country on Monday.
Matthew Loeb, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees International President, stated Wednesday that the strike will begin Monday at 12:01 AM unless an agreement on rest and meals periods and pay for its lowest paid workers is reached.
Loeb mentioned a lack in urgency for setting a strike day.
Loeb stated in a statement that "Without an ending date, we can keep talking forever." "Our members should have their basic needs met now," Loeb stated.
An industry that has recently returned to work following long pandemic shutdowns or recurring aftershocks due to new outbreaks would suffer a severe setback if there is a strike.
Jarryd Gonzales (publicist representing the studios) stated that there are still five days to reach a deal. "Studios will continue negotiations in good faith to reach a new agreement that will keep this industry going."
Jonas Loeb (director of communication at IATSE), said last week that workers have complained about working conditions deteriorating or being exacerbated. "And these 60,000 workers behind-the scenes who are covered by these contracts are at breaking point."
This would be the first strike nationwide in IATSE's 128-year history. IATSE members include cinematographers as well as set designers, carpenters and hair and makeup artists.
Union members claim they are often forced to work long hours, and that they don't get enough rest through meal breaks or time off between shifts. Leaders claim that the lowest-paid craftsmen earn unlivable wages. Streamers such as Amazon, Netflix, Apple, and Amazon can pay less under agreements that gave them more flexibility in the past.
"We have continued to impress upon employers the importance of the priorities, the fact this is about humans and the working conditions at work are about dignity, health, and safety at the workplace," stated Rebecca Rhine (national executive director, Cinematographers Guild, IATSE, Local 600). "The unsafe hours, health and safety concerns, not eating at all, were the exceptions for many years in this industry which is very competitive." They're now the norm.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers represents studios and other entertainment companies and is committed to avoiding a closure in an industry still recovering.
Strikes are always hard for everyone. Everyone suffers. It's difficult. But I believe our members have the will to make their voices heard and have their voices recognized and implemented in the industry. Rhine agreed. "What we learned is that employers can make changes to their business practices if they choose."