International Alliance of Theatrical Employees (IATSE) union president Matthew Loeb announced on Wednesday that the union would go on strike on Monday unless an agreement with the Alliance of Cinema Television Producers is reached ( AMPTP) in the next five days.
The IATSE demanded improvements in wages and quality of life, improvements in pension and health funds, changes in the number of hours and breaks on set, such as longer meal breaks and periods longer rest periods on weekends; and the establishment of salary scales for productions associated with streaming services and other new media.
Last week, the IATSE, which has a majority of California members as well as smaller chapters in other movie-rich states such as Georgia, New York and New Mexico, voted in favor of a strike with a huge percentage of 98.7%, or 52,706 out of 53,411 voters. members.
Back at the bargaining tables, the studios came up with a new deal, including giving in to some demands like weekend breaks and more break time. However, the IATSE rejected this proposal and fired back, leading to a deadlock, with both sides refusing to move on several key areas.
With negotiations between the union and the TV and film producers not moving fast enough, Loeb issued an ultimatum to create an emergency to resolve the issue quickly.
“We will continue to negotiate with producers this week in the hope of reaching an agreement that addresses fundamental issues, such as reasonable rest periods, meal breaks and a living wage for those at the bottom of the market. salary scale, “Loeb said in a statement. Tweeter Wednesday. “The pace of the negotiations does not reflect any sense of urgency. Without an end date, we could go on talking forever. Our members deserve to have their basic needs met now. “
We will continue to negotiate with producers this week in the hope of reaching an agreement that addresses fundamental issues, such as reasonable rest periods, meal breaks and a living wage for those at the bottom of the market. wage scale. # IASolidarity
– Matthew D. Loeb (@matthewloeb) October 13, 2021
The IATSE also confirmed the date of Loeb’s strike on its website, even including a running counter showing the seconds until a strike occurs, with IATSE members also receiving a text telling them to prepare for picketing.
“Local AI leadership just came out of a meeting with Loeb,” IATSE said in a member text on Tuesday. “Tomorrow in the middle of the afternoon, Eastern time, he will make an announcement that AMPTP has until Monday 18 at 12:01 am to give us a better offer. Management advised me to tell members to put their kits away this week. Be prepared to work on Mondays, but also be prepared to picket / go.
In response, AMPTP said there was a long time to come to an agreement and they would act in good faith to reach an agreement.
“There are five full days to reach a deal, and the studios will continue to negotiate in good faith with the goal of reaching an agreement for a new contract that will keep the industry operating,” AMPTP said. in a press release on Wednesday.
An imminent national strike
With a strike seeming more likely every day, many studios are now considering the possibility that most or all of their productions will be cut short next week. California would be the hardest hit, with a studio shutdown affecting peripheral businesses across the state. Food services, hotels, rental companies, and several areas outside of the entertainment industry are likely to have fewer customers, not to mention many people working for studios who are unlikely to be able to work unless they do. is not resolved.
“We cannot afford a strike right now,” an AMPTP member told The Globe on Friday, on condition of anonymity. “We are still in the process of overcoming the COVID closures. Another would mean so much money wasted. not to mention fewer new shows and movies for an upcoming stretch. I can’t really say that I know how this is all going to play out, but I do know that a lot of people on both sides are not going to budge on some issues so it might take a while.
Some Southern California business owners, like Molly Cordova, who helps rent homes for film and TV sets in the San Fernando Valley, have said a strike will be devastating. “California has actually brought more and more productions back to California in recent years,” Cordova told The Globe. “That’s why every Californian, city dweller or urban, red or blue, young and old should be concerned. They pump a lot of money into the state through things like taxes, but also to keep businesses like mine going. If the strike happens, it will hurt everyone in the state in one way or another. It could be directly like me or it could lead to a cut in services somewhere because a county is not getting some of the expected filming expenses. Other states are also affected, but the big loser here would be California. “
In the event of a strike, the IATSE will announce it on October 18 at 12:01 a.m.