Film and TV crew union the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) has set a deadline of Monday, October 18 at 12:01 a.m. for a strike that would see 60,000 of its members walk off the job, impacting productions across the United States.
According to the union’s international president Matthew Loeb, IATSE will continue talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to hammer out solutions to what the union is calling the “core issues” of the negotiations: “reasonable rest periods, meal breaks, and a living wage for those on the bottom of the wage scale.”
In a statement issued by the union earlier this week, Loeb took aim at the AMPTP, saying “the pace of bargaining doesn’t reflect any sense of urgency. Without an end date, we could keep talking forever. Our members deserve to have their basic needs addressed now.”
The reality of a strike — which would see below-the-line crew workers hitting picket lines not only in Hollywood but in other production hubs including Georgia, Louisiana, Illinois and New Mexico — depends on whether satisfactory terms can be negotiated for three expired contracts: the Hollywood Basic Agreement, the Area Standards Agreement and the Videotape Electronics Supplemental Agreement.
The Hollywood Basic Agreement covers 13 locals on the West Coast of the U.S., or somewhere between 40,000 to 45,000 members, while the Area Agreement covers 23 locals outside of Los Angeles County and covers between 10,000 and 15,000 members. Both of those contracts expired on September 10, while the Videotape Agreement — which impacts unscripted television content ranging from reality TV to talk shows, game shows and entertainment/variety programming — expired on September 30.
A strike would impact a substantial portion of programming and Hollywood films, but a Premium Cable Agreement covering shows made for HBO, Showtime and Starz channels is still in effect. Shows made for HBO Max, meanwhile, are still vulnerable to strike action.
Meanwhile, the AMPTP issued a statement this week, declaring “the studios will continue to negotiate in good faith in an effort to reach an agreement for a new contract that will keep the industry working.”
IATSE members voted in favor of strike authorization earlier this month. If talks fail, the labor action would be the first nationwide strike in the union’s 128-year history.