Sixty thousand behind-the-scenes film and TV workers in the United
States who are represented by the International Alliance of Theatrical
Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts
of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE) are mobilizing
to ensure Hollywood studios and
streaming companies provide the crews who produce their content with
reasonable rest, sustainable benefits, and living wages.
After months of negotiating successor contracts
Producer-IATSE Basic Agreement
the Theatrical and Television Motion Picture Area Standards
Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which
major film and television production companies, announced it does
not intend to
make any counter-offer
to IATSE's most recent
response, IATSE obtained a massive strike vote with 89.66 per cent
53,411 total votes, and a 98.68 per cent yes vote -- 52,706 yes
IATSE reports that throughout the bargaining process, the AMPTP "has
failed to work with us on addressing the most grievous problems in
their workplaces, including:
- Excessively unsafe and harmful working hours.
- Unlivable wages for the lowest paid crafts.
- Consistent failure to provide reasonable rest during meal breaks, between workdays, and on weekends.
Workers on certain "new media" streaming projects getting paid less, even
on productions with budgets that rival or exceed those of
traditionally released blockbusters."
IATSE points out that the AMPTP is "an ensemble that includes media
mega-corporations collectively worth trillions of dollars." It does not
accept its claims that "it cannot provide behind-the-scenes crews with
basic human necessities like adequate sleep, meal breaks, and living
wages. Worse, management does not appear to even recognize
our core issues as problems that exist in the first place."
says, "These issues are real for the workers in our industry, and
change is long overdue. However, the explosion of streaming combined
with the pandemic has elevated and aggravated working conditions,
bringing 60,000 behind-the-scenes workers covered by these contracts to
a breaking point. We risked our health and safety all year,
working through the pandemic to ensure that our business emerged
intact. Now, we cannot and will not accept a deal that leaves us with
an unsustainable outcome."
IATSE was founded in 1893 when representatives of stagehands
working in eleven cities met in New York and pledged to support each
other's efforts to establish fair wages and working conditions for
their members. Today it works in all forms of live theater, motion
picture and television production, trade shows and exhibitions,
broadcasting, and concerts as well as the equipment and construction
shops that support all these areas of the entertainment industry.
IATSE says, "We are more than 150,000 workers strong in virtually
all arts, media, and entertainment crafts, and our mission is to
improve all entertainment workers' lives both inside and outside the
This article was published in
October 8, 2021 - No. 93