IATSE calls for historic strike authorization vote

IATSE leaders are asking tens of thousands of entertainment industry crews to give them authority to call a strike.

Union leaders said in statement Monday they would ask their members to approve a so-called strike authorization vote.

The extraordinary move comes after four months of increasingly acrimonious talks between the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers failed to produce an agreement on a new contract.

IATSE said producers, which include Netflix, Amazon, and Warner Bros and Walt Disney among others, had refused to respond to their latest proposals after the union’s contract had expired earlier this month.

“This failure to continue negotiating can only be interpreted one way,” the IATSE negotiating committee said in a statement Monday. “They simply will not address the core issues we have repeatedly advocated for from the beginning. As a result, we will now proceed with a nationwide strike authorization vote to demonstrate our commitment to achieving the change that is long overdue in this industry.”

The contract affects more than 43,000 workers in the film and entertainment industry, who are pushing for better rest periods, improved wages, residuals from streaming that are in line with other distribution channels, as well as increased contributions to health and pension plans.

While a strike vote does not mean a walk out will follow, it potentially gives union leaders more clout in negotiations by threatening to close down productions at a critical time.

Producers are furiously trying to revamp productions delayed by the pandemic and also feed their new streaming platforms.

Hollywood crews have not staged strike or major walkout since the Second World War.

The vote, which will happen electronically, requires 75% of all those votes received to be in favor and for a simple majority of the locals to vote in favor. Locals have been preparing members, by asking them to be up to date with their dues and to register emails.

IATSE did not say when the vote would occur.

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