The International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees on Monday called for a strike approval vote, the largest possible labor showdown in Hollywood since the last writers’ strike 14 years ago.
About 60,000 IATSE members could leave their jobs, most of them based in Los Angeles. If the strike comes, TV and film production across the country will stop, because among the locals are 60,000, and00 and –00 – “national” unions.
“It’s coastal,” said Joe Martinez, a special effects specialist at IATSE Local. He said he believed the strike was growing. “They think they’ve got us with the ball. We make products. If we don’t show up to work, will they sell?
Local 600, the largest among locals, represents 9,600 camera operators and cinematographers in the United States. If they go out, no one will be able to hold a set of cameras in the United States. Similarly, nationwide post-production will be shut down. Without editor.
The IATSE has never been on strike before, and a strike approval vote does not mean there will be a strike this time. But it shows that the IATSE is becoming more aggressive about long-standing issues in many discussions in the past, including long working days and low rates of “new media” without resolving them.
IATSE negotiators are looking for larger accommodation for longer extension periods between break breaks and production times. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers – which represents major studios including Netflix and Amazon – has refused to offer discounts that would shorten working days, which would significantly increase studio costs.
Voting for the strike is expected to begin on October 1. Results will be announced October 4. If approved, IATSE International President Matthew D.
A broad “yes” vote will be seen to give union negotiators more advantage at the negotiating table. But calling for a vote also carries the risk that a “no” vote, or a low “yes” vote, could damage the union’s position.
The vote will probably be two votes – one for the Basic Agreement and the other for the Area Standards Agreement. The basic agreement includes 1 IATSE locals based on the “West Coast”, with a total of 47,000.
For each local, 5% of voters must vote in favor of union representatives in support of member approval. The decision to approve will be taken by a majority vote of the delegates. The union could not say how many delegates there are in total, but insiders say the number is between 450-500.
The other 23 IATSE locals – representing manufacturing workers in different parts of the country – are covered by the Area Standards Agreement. This agreement basically reflects the basic agreement and is negotiated in parallel with it. The unions under the Area Standards Agreement have not yet announced a vote to approve the strike, but they are expected to do so.
The two agreements do not cover production in Canada or other countries. So, presumably some U.S. producers may try to go abroad if a strike is called. However, Canadian film workers are represented by IATSE locals, and it can be expected that those workers will not work in productions that have fled the United States.
Martinez said AMPTP’s latest move, where it refused to respond to the IATSE proposal, was seen as an “insult”.
“I believe the laws of possibility are now in favor of strikes,” he said. “They have to taste this medicine.”