US productions could be put on hiatus after a union representing thousands of TV and film workers voted for strike action in an ongoing battle for better conditions.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) said 90% of its workforce had voted in the ballot of potential action, with 98% of those supporting the potential of striking.
IATSE has been in negotiations with major Hollywood producers – represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) – for months over a new deal for more than 60,000 film and TV workers, but talks have so far failed.
Context & consequences
The union represents an array of off-screen workers, ranging from editors and set creators to make-up artists and grips, many of whom have been working longer hours to keep up with the demands of content-hungry streamers.
Any strike action would throw Hollywood’s studio and production business into chaos.
Matthew Loeb, IATSE’s president, said: “The members have spoken loud and clear. This vote is about the quality of life as well as the health and safety of those who work in the film and television industry.
“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.”
The vote means IATSE members can strike should talks continue to fail. A three-year deal is in negotiation, replacing the current deal that started in 2018 and ran out in September.
IATSE said major issues included “excessively unsafe and harmful working hours”, low pay, meal break provision and workers on streaming shows getting paid less.
The AMPTP said it “remains committed to reaching an agreement that will keep the industry working”.
It added: “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.”