IATSE backs strike when entering into contract agreements

  • Trade unions for film and television teams have reached an agreement at the last minute, avoiding an industry-striking strike.
  • Members have pushed for longer rest breaks and higher wages for lower-wage trades, amid outrage over dangerous working conditions.
  • Had they pursued a strike, some members would have stopped working on numerous sets as of Monday.

Negotiators for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have reached an agreement to stave off a potential industry-demanding strike.

The unions announced the deal Saturday night. IATSE published a statement that the agreement included provisions such as the cost of living for the lowest paid, daily rest periods of 10 hours, weekend rest periods of 54 hours and recently adopted diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

The unions went into eleven-hour virtual marathon meetings late on Friday, according to Variety, where AMPTP president Carol Lombardini addressed details about problematic working conditions in the industry. Lombardini and Matt Loeb, IATSE President, reached agreement on several fronts and understood the consequences a crew member’s strike would have for the industry as it recovers from COVID-19.

Industry sources also told Variety that Walt Disney Television chief Peter Rice was among those present at the meeting who helped build the bridge between the two parties.

IATSE union members have pushed for longer breaks and higher wages for lower-wage trades, following several reports of dangerous working conditions spread across social media, triggering support from industry players, instructors and writers, among others.

Had the IATSE pursued a strike, members of the crew members’ union would have stopped working on many sets, including some big-name productions starting Monday. Series like Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and SNL, soap in the daytime like Days of Our Lives and scripted shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Law and Order: SVU would have gone = without editors, lighting teams and customers. In the long run, a strike could have delayed the streaming of hits like Bridgerton and Ted Lasso and major budget films like Marvel Studios blockbusters.

Ninety-eight percent of IATSE members voted to approve a strike in October. IATSE and AMPTP resumed negotiations last week after Loeb announced that the former would go on strike unless the parties could reach an agreement before the weekend. Negotiations have been underway since July with the threat of an impending strike hanging over their heads.

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