The strike of IATSE members will be the biggest in the U.S. since 2007. This worker painted pro-union imagery on his car at the September rally in Los Angeles.
Myung J. Chun via Getty Images

It is a major step forward for the tens and thousands of people who work behind-the scenes to create television programs and films. massive strikeTheir union was given the go-ahead to call off the work stoppage of the studios.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts (IATSE), announced Monday that 98.68% of its members voted in support of authorizing a strike. IATSE reported that nearly 90% of members eligible cast their ballots.

The members do the unseen work of Hollywood ― they’re camera technicians, film editors, costume designers, production and script coordinators, etc. ― working for Warner Bros., Disney, Netflix, Amazon and other big studios.

However, the result of the vote doesn’t guarantee that the strike by the 60,000 workers who are covered by these contracts is going to be a success. But it gives the union’s top leaders the power to call one at any time if they fail to make progress with the trade group representing the studios, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

The strike would be the biggest to affect the private sector in the United States since General Motors employees walked out of the job in 2007.

Workers are demanding more recovery time from work, saying they’re burned out from 14-hour days with few breaks. Wage increases are also requested, especially for those in lower-paying occupations. The dispute centers on the streamed content pay rates. Studios can still pay workers less for “new media” projects, even though the industry has made a huge pivot toward streaming.

“The members have spoken loud and clear,” IATSE said on Twitter. “Our people have basic human needs like time for meal breaks, adequate sleep, and a weekend. For those at the bottom of the pay scale, they deserve nothing less than a living wage.”

Recent experience as a camera technician told HuffPost, “People love what they do on a movie set, but we want a quality of life that’s worth living.”

The AMPTP said in a statement Monday that an agreement averting a strike “will require both parties working together in good faith.”

“We deeply value our IATSE crew members and are committed to working with them to avoid shutting down the industry at such a pivotal time, particularly since the industry is still recovering from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic,” AMPTP spokesperson Jarryd Gonzalez said.

Matthew Loeb is the President of IATSE said Friday that the producers had “not responded to our core priorities in any meaningful way.”

This is a developing story and we will keep you updated.


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