The union representing more than 60,000 film and television crew members plans to begin a strike if a last-minute deal does not meet their requirements for safe working conditions.
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees International (IATSE) President Matthew Loeb said Wednesday the strike would start on Oct. 18 unless negotiations are successful before the deadline.
“However, the pace of bargaining doesn’t reflect any sense of urgency,” Loeb said in a statement (pdf). “Without an end date, we could keep talking forever. Our members deserve to have their basic needs addressed now.”
The statement noted the agreement addresses “core issues, such as reasonable rest periods, meal breaks, and a living wage for those on the bottom of the wage scale.”
More than 98 percent of voting union members supported the strike. Voter turnout included 90 percent of the union’s members.
BREAKING: Unless an Agreement is Reached, IATSE film & tv workers will begin a nationwide strike on Oct. 18 at 12:01 a.m. (PDT)https://t.co/nFEw6ZIyKy
— IATSE // #IASolidarity (@IATSE) October 13, 2021
The IATSE reported the pending strike has led to some studios scheduling unplanned additional work this week prior to the deadline.
“In response to our strike deadline announcement this week, we are getting reports some studios are scheduling unplanned sixth and seventh days and additional overtime,” the union said on Twitter Thursday.
“It is SHAMEFUL that during a negotiation focused on unsafe hours and other abusive working conditions, some @AMPTP companies are intentionally choosing to risk the health and safety of our members to serve their own selfish interests,” the IATSE added in another post. “It highlights the urgency of our issues.”
The union encouraged those who felt unsafe to report the issue to the appropriate safety hotline.
Actor and producer Octavia Spencer voiced support for the IATSE’s demands on Monday.
“I hope #AMPTP does the right thing and sits down again,” Spencer wrote on Twitter. “They’re not asking for anything unreasonable.”
Some Democrat lawmakers have also expressed support of the union’s strike.
“#Striketober coming in hot,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said in a tweet supporting the union and other strikes on Thursday.
“After years of being underserved and taken for granted – & doubly so during the pandemic – workers are starting to authorize strikes across the country: from @IATSE production workers to @UAW John Deere & @BCTGM Kellogg workers,& many more. Good,” she added.
In addition to IATSE, corporations like Kellogg, John Deere, and Nabisco have started strikes in October. In total, the companies represent more than 100,000 American workers petitioning for better working conditions across various unions.