The International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees has overwhelmingly approved a strike authorization, giving the union president the mandate to shut down film and TV production nationwide.
Most people haven’t heard of the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees, but the world is quickly finding out who they are, the challenges they face, and what their demands are.
Contract talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, have been ongoing since May. With no resolution in sight, the union took to the polls, voting in favor of the strike authorization with a whopping 98.7 percent support.
Given that turnout was an equally impressive 90 percent, IATSE is showing AMPTP–and the world–that its members are unified and resolute.
“The members have spoken loud and clear,” Matthew D. Loeb, the international president, said in a statement. “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 various union locals are seeking to address long-standing concerns, including long hours on set, streaming wage scales and residuals, and the stability of the pension and health funds.
While this vote does not mean a general strike is now in effect, that outcome can happen at any time. Loeb now has the authority to send 60,000 below-the-line workers to the picket lines. Meanwhile, negotiations will continue with AMPTP, with the union seemingly carrying a far more menacing negotiation stick.