October 20, 2021

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IATSE members are committed to a possible strike against Hollywood studios

4 min read

Contract talks between the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have stalled, prompting crew members to share on social media for a possible strike action and the conditions that the IATSE is demanding.

The long-term range between health plan funding, pension plans, breaks, production hours and discounts to shorten working days are among the topics that IATSE seeks for union members.

Charles Antoinette Jones, who counts “Rising Dion” and “Judas and the Black Messiah” among his clothing design credits, said the biggest problem for him is pay equality. It was only in 2019 that he started creating scales on “Rising Dion”.

“I didn’t get it Per day Sometimes jobs out of town. I found out that white production designers are getting Per day And I wasn’t, ”she says.“ It’s its racial impact, but I’ve talked to other women in the industry, and we’re all fighting the same thing. ”

He explains that his work-life balance is almost non-existent when he is at work, missing birthdays, marriages and funerals. And often those 1-18-1 hour days mean he finds himself “one day off in three to four weeks”.

Screen coordinator Shawn Waugh, who worked on “Fear the Walking Dead”, said his long hours were often spent working late at night due to the nature of his work. “It’s not uncommon for me to start delivering content after 11pm, or after midnight, and then I need to stay awake and ready, not just the writer’s house,” he said. “There’s an extended 12-plus hour day.”

Wow and Antonet Jones are just two of the more than 60,000 crew members covered by locals who are advising for better conditions and better timing, among other things. “We need to stop time,” said Antonet Jones.

Wow always describes job stress as a standby that bleeds into his personal life. “You are expected to drop everything immediately and start working. It’s very stressful because you can wait for hundreds of people to deliver a draft or amendment to you, “Waugh said. He revealed that he had to come out of a funeral to deal with a script issue during a job “because the show-runner did it as soon as it needed to and didn’t give me any advanced warnings.”

Antonet Jones further revealed that he missed important doctor appointments because of his job promise. But a turning point for him was during the epidemic last year when he was about to start work again and had health fears. This time, he puts himself first. “But there are some projects where people get annoyed when you go to a doctor’s appointment. This industry does not encourage rest and leisure. It’s a culture of being a workaholic, “he says.

Courtney Hoffman, a former costume designer and former member of the local 705 and 892, who worked on “Baby Driver” and “The Hateful Eight,” has recently changed careers in writing and directing. Standing in full support of the IATSE strike action, Hoffman recalled witnessing the horrific set conditions, “After working on the set, I saw the crew being mentally and physically abused, put in dangerous positions and situations. Multiple film crew members or department heads were seriously injured or killed and We paused for five minutes to announce it and then continued.

Crew members across the board are advising for better hours and improved quality of life. The epidemic has caused this change. Nafs Hoffman, “I knew the epidemic would bring this change because it was the first time many crew members had seen their kids grow up, put them to bed and kissed their wives in the morning.”

After his disturbing experience on set, Hoffman has been working to create a healthier work environment and solve brutally long-term problems plaguing crew members for decades. “My biggest motivation behind being a director was to create a new culture on set. Where women can feel safe. One is that human life is worth on perfect adoption. That invites families to lunch. Things that remind crews that they are valuable and safe in the workplace, ”Hoffman said.

Salvador Perez, president of the Costume Designers Guild, noted that key employers have examples of doing the right thing by their employees.

“When I work at Universal they have a policy that no one works more than 14 hours, so they will allow us to bring in extra crews to finish the day so that no one works abusive hours,” he says. “Why isn’t it an industry standard?”

He adds the entertainment industry is one of the few where crews work such hours. As the TV season changed from July to April almost year-round, he noticed unsafe working hours as costume designers and other crew members worked in high-pressure conditions for about 12 months a year.

“We’re expected to do this in a few months, there’s no logical reason for the crew to die,” Perez said. “Why does the studio insist on working 16-18 hours? Isn’t it more expensive to work a 12-hour day and add one or two days to the schedule?

Perez and others feel that the AMPTP member organizations are pressing so hard that workers have no choice but to support stopping work to sue them.

“The studios don’t seem to care, so they’re forcing us to strike to show that we’re upset about the timing of the abuse,” he said. “We are the lifeblood of the film and TV industry, we should be considered partners, not workers.”

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