Film and television production in North America is in danger of halting after workers behind the scenes voted overwhelmingly to allow a strike for the first time in its 128-year history.
The International Theater Staff Association said 99% of registered members who participated, or 52,706 people, voted to support a strike over the weekend.
The contract has been put on hold due to requests for more reasonable terms for craftsmen, technicians and workers who work for streaming companies like Netflix, Apple and Amazon, including better wages, reasonable breaks, safer hours and guaranteed meal breaks.
“I hope you see the studios and understand our members’ design,” said Alliance President Matthew Loeb. “The ball is in their court. If they want to avoid the strike, they will go back to the negotiating table and make us a reasonable offer.”
The last three-year contract expired in July, leading to four months of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents studios and streaming companies in the negotiations.
But on September 20, a day after shows including The Crown, Ted Lasso and The Queen’s Gambit aired, Emmy Awards sweptAnd the conversations stopped.
Loeb said his goal was to reach an agreement but noted that the vote was about “the quality of life as well as the health and safety of those who work in the film and television industry.”
The International Alliance of Theatrical Operatives said it was “incomprehensible that the AMPTP, a conglomerate that includes massive media companies worth a combined trillions of dollars, claims they cannot provide behind-the-scenes crews with basic human necessities such as adequate sleep, meals, breaks, and a living wage.”
The union added that its members have worked through the coronavirus pandemic to ensure their businesses appear intact. “Now, we cannot and will not accept a deal that leaves us with an unsustainable outcome,” she said.
The Motion Picture and Television Producers Alliance said it remains committed to reaching an agreement that will keep the industry running, particularly as it continues to recover from the economic fallout from the Covid pandemic.
“A deal can be struck at the negotiating table, but it will require both parties to work together in good faith with a willingness to make concessions and explore new solutions to resolve open issues,” she said.
While unions such as the Writers Guild of America were often on the brink of strike, In 2007-2008, I went on strike for 100 daysAnd Hollywood crews and the International Alliance of Theatrical Operators have no major strike history.
The only previous dispute was when the interior designers pulled out for six months in 1945, leading to riots at the gates of Warner Bros. studio that became known as Bloody Friday. If this time the stalemate leads to a strike, it will be the first national movement in the history of the theatrical labor group.
Several prominent names in Hollywood have expressed public support for the crew’s demands, including actress and producer Octavia Spencer, who tweeted: “I hope AMPTP does the right thing and sits back. They’re not asking for anything unreasonable.”