The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) announced today that 60,000 members who work in television and film production across the country have voted—by a nearly unanimous margin—to grant IATSE International President Matthew Loeb the authority to call a strike.
This is the first time in IATSE’s 128-year history that members of the union have authorized a nationwide strike.
“The members have spoken loud and clear,” said Loeb. “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 union is fighting with the Alliance of Movie Producers and Television Producers (AMPTP) for higher pay, larger contributions to health and pension plans, and improved rest periods and meal breaks, as well as a bigger cut of the profits from streaming productions. The contract ended July 31 and was extended until September 10. Over the last two weeks, all major guilds and Congress have come out in support of IATSE.
Beginning Oct 1 and concluding Oct. 3, at 11:59 p.m. E.S.T., 60,000 IATSE members who work on film and television productions received ballots and voted on whether to empower the international union’s president to call a strike.
When asked if a strike date has been set, sources told Reel 360, “No, let’s see if they get back to the table first. We have been assured by our team that there will be a warning of several days before the strike to remove personal property and handle any timely business etc.”
In the 13 West Coast local unions, where members work under the Basic Agreement, it was required that 75 percent of members voting in each local union approve the strike vote for that local union to authorize a strike.
The same conditions applied to the 23 locals across the nation located in production hubs including Georgia, Louisiana, Illinois, and New Mexico operating under the Area Standards Agreement. That threshold was exceeded in all 36 local unions with none reporting less than 96 percent voting to authorize a strike.
Overall voter turnout was 90 percent. Support for strike authorization was more than 98 percent nationwide. Online voting was conducted by election management services company Honest Ballot.
“I hope that the studios will see and understand the resolve of our members,” Loeb said. “The ball is in their court. If they want to avoid a strike, they will return to the bargaining table and make us a reasonable offer.“
Loeb informed the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) of the election results Monday morning, saying he “emphasized the need for the studios to adequately address the union’s core issues.”
In an interview in last Thursday’s Los Angeles Times Loeb provided further information on what is required to reach a settlement.