Threatened Hollywood strike may ripple into some tasks in Canada

More than 60,000 individuals who work behind the scenes in U.S. movie and tv started casting ballots on Friday on whether or not to present their union a strike mandate. Though Canadian union members aren’t affected, some ripples could also be felt north of the border.

The International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) is taking a more durable line in contract talks with movie and TV producers on quality-of-life points for manufacturing crews by asking for a strike mandate. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

More than 60,000 individuals who work behind the scenes on U.S. movie and tv started casting ballots on Friday on whether or not to present their union a strike mandate, which may result in a mass walkout and Hollywood’s greatest disruption to manufacturing because the Nineteen Forties.

The vote was introduced after months of talks broke down between the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) over two agreements masking U.S. movie and tv productions. 

The union has been negotiating for higher quality-of-life circumstances — longer breaks throughout a workday, shift turnaround provisions and assurances that members will not must work so many consecutive hours on set that they grow to be exhausted.

Messages from union members, writing anonymously, have been pouring in by way of social media, describing onerous working circumstances.

“I used to be the prop grasp on a giant funds community present. Exhausted, biking house from the stage one night time, I used to be hit by a automobile and my neck was damaged and several other vertebrae had been cracked,” writes one employee on the Instagram feed ia_stories.

“My first thought once I awoke within the hospital was that I needed to get to work the following day for a giant stunt scene.”

The contract dispute has drawn help for the union from various celebrities, together with Josh Ruben, Seth Rogan, Ben Stiller and Lily Tomlin.

I simply spent 9 months working with an extremely arduous working crew of movie makers by way of very difficult circumstances. Totally help them in combating for higher circumstances.#IATSE


Our movies and films actually wouldn’t exist with out our crews, and our crews deserve higher.


“It’s a problem of psychological and bodily well-being, and simply lengthy, intensive hours working,” IATSE director of Canadian affairs John Lewis informed CBC News.

Streaming residuals

The union can be combating for streaming residuals and better pay for its lowest-paid staff.

It desires honest compensation for crews engaged on reveals for on-line streaming providers, Lewis stated, after “most unions and guilds took reductions to permit studios to determine this new style or platform for manufacturing, and now it is well-established with huge budgets. And we do not assume these reductions are obligatory or applicable any extra.”

Today, staff on sure “new media” streaming tasks are nonetheless paid much less, even on productions with budgets that rival or exceed these of historically launched blockbusters.


Although Canadian union members aren’t affected by the attainable strike authorization, there might be complications for some U.S. productions in Canada ought to a strike go forward.

There are sometimes “a handful” of crew members from the U.S. who work north of the border on U.S. movie or TV tasks and are lined by one of many two collective agreements, stated Lewis.

“It’s uncommon to haven’t any U.S. crew in any respect, notably [on] the upper budgeted U.S. productions.”

IATSE hopes the vote on the strike mandate will spur the studios to return again to the desk and negotiate, he added.

“In the occasion — and we hope it does not come to this — there’s a labour stoppage, it may affect some productions in Canada.”

He stated his workplace has not but heard when a strike may happen, ought to union members authorize a walkout.

Producers addressed ‘financial realities’

The AMPTP disputes the union’s characterization that the alliance has been negotiating in unhealthy religion.

“The AMPTP put forth a deal-closing complete proposal that meaningfully addresses the IATSE’s key bargaining points,” it stated in a press release.

“When we started negotiations with the IATSE months in the past, we mentioned the financial realities and the challenges dealing with the leisure business as we work to get better from the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Strike authorization wants 75% ‘sure’ vote

The union members are voting till Sunday night time, with outcomes anticipated to be introduced Monday. IATSE represents a variety of staff in artistic positions, together with administrators of images, costume and set designers, and hair and make-up artists.

The threshold to move strike authorization is a “sure” vote of 75 per cent.

IATSE additionally has the help of 118 members of the U.S. Congress, who signed a letter despatched Thursday to the top of the business’s alliance, saying “these staff have risked their well being, working by way of the COVID-19 pandemic,” to maintain movie and TV productions operating, they usually have the best to “satisfactory sleep, meal breaks and dwelling wages.”

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