Negotiations to prevent a strike that could bring the film and television production industry to its knees are coming to an end.
Matthew Loeb, president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees International, said Wednesday morning that unless an agreement is reached, 60,000 union members will begin a nationwide strike against the major studios on October 18 at 12:01 am. Such a work stoppage would be catastrophic, production stoppage in the United States
Union members are demanding better hours and working conditions, saying increased production over the past decade has led to long hours and dangerous situations on set.
Loeb said the union will continue negotiations with AMPTP this week in hopes of reaching a deal that addresses the core issues. Unions are asking for 10 hours between shifts for all workers, as well as 54 hours on weekends. They are also asking for an increase in meal penalties, as a means of forcing productions to stop for lunch.
“The pace of the negotiations does not reflect any sense of urgency,” Loeb said. âWithout an end date, we could go on talking forever. Our members deserve to have their basic needs met now. “
Earlier this month, members signaled their support for a move that would send them to picket lines. A strike authorization vote was passed by an overwhelming majority with 98.7% support and 90% participation. The IATSE has received broad public support from other entertainment industry unions and members of Congress, among others.
AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler has pledged to mobilize larger workforce resources if IATSE decides to go on strike.
âWe will stand in solidarity with them. We will use the full breadth and power of the labor movement to make sure these companies feel the pain, âsaid Shuler. “And we have many levers that we can use in the labor movement, whether it’s the chair of intimidation, whether it’s using our leverage of capital strategies for shareholders, or just getting these bodies out on the streets. to support them. “
The IATSE and the major studios that make up AMPTP have been in negotiations intermittently over the past few weeks. The most recent contract expired earlier this year, prompting concern in the industry after the union took the extraordinary step of calling for a strike authorization vote last month.
The best of variety
Sign up for the Variety newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.