Here’s what’s behind the impending Hollywood strike
A major strike in Hollywood could be on the horizon for some 60,000 behind-the-scenes workers in the entertainment industry. Over the weekend, members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Employees (IASTE) overwhelmingly voted in favor of authorizing a national strike for the first time in its history.
Here we take a look at who is involved, what they are asking for and what is at stake.
WHAT IS IATSE?
The International Alliance of Theatrical Employees (or IATSE for short, pronounced eye-AHT’-see) is a 128-year-old union representing more than 150,000 entertainers, artisans and technicians in the entertainment industry in the United States. United and Canada. Comprised of cinematographers, costume designers, set designers, script supervisors, hairdressers and makeup artists, animators, stagehands and many more, the IATSE essentially represents everyone who works in any form of entertainment ( including movies, television, theater, concerts, trade shows). and broadcast) who is not an actor, director, producer or screenwriter.
WHY ARE THEY IN THE NEWS?
The three-year contracts which cover approximately 60,000 union members – one which primarily covers film and television production in Los Angeles and Hollywood and another which covers other production centers including New Mexico and Georgia – expired in July. For four months, the union has been negotiating new conditions with the Alliance of Film and Television Producers (AMPTP). These talks collapsed on September 20. IATSE says AMPTP has failed to solve its biggest workplace problems, and members voted overwhelmingly to give the organization’s president, Matthew D. Loeb, the ability to authorize a strike.
WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS AT WORK?
The IATSE says its members are subjected to excessive working hours, unbearable wages for the lowest paid trades and the inability to provide reasonable rest, including meal breaks and time off between days marathon work and weekend work. Plus, they say workers on some “new media” streaming projects are paid even less. Instagram account @ia_stories shared anonymous accounts of some poignant personal stories in the workplace and the effects of excessively long hours on everything from personal safety to mental health.
WAIT, WHAT IS AMPTP?
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers is a group that represents hundreds of entertainment companies, including major Hollywood studios, streaming services, and production companies, and basically negotiates all guild and union contracts at industry wide.
WHY DO STREAMERS PAY WORKERS LESS THAN TRADITIONAL STUDIOS?
In 2009, IATSE and the studios agreed that new media productions needed more “flexibility” because the medium was not yet economically viable. That has changed a lot, but not the crew’s expectations for flexibility. They feel like they are being taken advantage of as streaming budgets and profits have reached blockbuster levels.
WHO ELSE SUPPORTS THE REQUIREMENTS OF IATSE?
Support from social media has been strong and many figures in the film industry have spoken out in favor of the teams, including Octavia Spencer, Mindy Kaling, Jane Fonda and Katherine Heigl. On Monday, the Directors Guild of America also released a declaration of solidarity, signed by Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Barry Jenkins, Ron Howard, Ava DuVernay and Lesli Linka Glatter. Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) And 118 senators and members of the House also sent a letter to AMPTP urging good faith negotiations.
IS A STRIKE INEVITABLE?
No, and leaders on both sides have said they would like to avoid it if possible. On Tuesday, IATSE and AMPTP resumed negotiations.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THEY GO ON STRIKE?
With 60,000 workers covered by expired agreements, most productions are expected to close in the United States, including network shows and Netflix productions. But not all are affected: IATSE contracts for “pay TV” including HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax and BET do not expire until December 31, 2022, so they will continue. The same goes for commercials and low budget productions, which also have different agreements.
As for the long-term consequences, it all depends on the duration of the strike. The Writers Guild of America’s 100-day strike of 2007-2008, which also occurred when contracts failed to address the realities and gaps of ‘new media’, resulted in the scuttling of projects, shortened seasons of popular TV shows and an influx of reality shows to fill the schedule gaps. Most networks and streamers have a stash of content to fill in the gaps a bit.
We are waiting.
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