Everything You Need To Know About Hollywood’s IATSE Strike Vote

Below-the-line film and TV workers in the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) are two days away from their Monday deadline to reach a new employment deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) — or else shut down much of domestic production.

logo: Hollywood sign IATSE © TheWrap Hollywood sign IATSE

If a deal is not reached by Monday, Oct. 18, at 12:01 a.m. PT, union members will begin a nationwide strike that would set in motion the biggest work stoppage over a labor dispute since the 2007-08 strike by the Writers Guild of America. It would be the first strike for IATSE in its 145-year history.

With the clock ticking, TheWrap breaks down what you need to know about the dispute and how it could impact your favorite TV shows and movies.

1. Who is IATSE?

IATSE represents below-the-line workers such as costume and set designers, makeup artists, script coordinators, camera operators and many more of the on-set workers that are not the actors, directors or writers (each those have their own separate labor unions). For months, the union’s leadership has been negotiating for a new labor deal with the AMPTP, which represents the studios and production companies. The current agreement between the two expired last month.

In total, IATSE represents over 150,000 workers in the entertainment industry in both the United States and Canada. However, the current dispute covers 60,000 workers in film and television in 13 West Coast locals as well as 23 locals that work on film and TV shoots nationwide. Those who work on commercials or for premium cable networks like HBO and Showtime would not participate in this strike, as those networks have a separate agreement with producers.

2. What is the impasse over?

IATSE leadership has laid out four main areas of concern it wants addressed as part of any new deal:

- Excessively unsafe and harmful working hours

- Unlivable wages for the lowest-paid crafts

- Consistent failure to provide reasonable rest during meal breaks, between workdays, and on weekends

- Workers on certain “new media” streaming projects get paid less, even on productions with budgets that rival or exceed those of traditionally released blockbusters.

Broken down a bit more specifically, IATSE seeks a hard limit on shooting hours to avoid 14-hour shoot days that can lead to exhaustion. They also want increased contributions to the union’s health and pension plan. But perhaps the biggest issue — one that all of Hollywood labor is facing — is increased wages and compensation for workers at a time when the streaming boom has caused rapid growth in production demand and profits.


Video: IATSE Members Overwhelmingly Approve Strike, Moves Hollywood One Step Closer To Historic Shutdown (CBS Los Angeles)

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