We will examine who is involved, their requests and the stakes.
What IS THE IATSE?
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE, is a union that has been around for 128 years and represents over 150,000 performers, craftspeople, and technicians in the entertainment sector in Canada and the United States. The IATSE is made up of costumers, set designers and script supervisors as well as hair and makeup artists, stagehands and animators. It represents virtually everyone involved in entertainment, including movies, television, theatre, and concerts.
WHY ARE THEY IN THOSE NEWS?
In July, the three-year contracts covering approximately 60,000 union members -- one that covers film and television production in Los Angeles and Hollywood, and another that covers other production hubs like New Mexico and Georgia -- were terminated. The union has been negotiating new terms for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers over the past four month. These talks ended on September 20. According to the IATSE, the AMPTP has failed to address their most serious workplace problems. Members overwhelmingly voted to grant Matthew D. Loeb, president of the organization, the power to authorize a strike.
What are the WORKPLACE PROBLEMS
According to the IATSE, members work long hours and receive low wages for their lowest-paid crafts. They also complain that they are not given reasonable rest and meal breaks, and there is no time off between weekend work and marathon days. They also claim that some workers working on "new media" streaming projects are paid less. Instagram account @ia_stories shared anonymous accounts of some horrifying personal workplace stories, and the impact of working too long on everything, from personal safety to mental well-being.
WAIT! WHAT IS THE AMPTP?
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers represents hundreds of entertainment companies including major Hollywood studios and streaming services. It also negotiates virtually all industry-wide union and guild contracts.
WHY ARE THE STREAMERS PAYING WORKERS LOWER THAN TRADITIONAL STUDIOS?
The IATSE and studios agreed in 2009 that new media productions needed greater flexibility because they were not economically viable. This has been a significant shift, but crews still expect flexibility. They feel exploited, even though streaming profits and budgets have reached record levels.
Who ELSE SUPPORTS IATSE DEMANDS?
The crews have received significant social media support. Many prominent figures in the film industry, including Mindy Kaling and Jane Fonda, have expressed their support via social media. The Directors Guild of America also issued a statement of solidarity on Monday. It was signed by Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan, Barry Jenkins (D-Calif.), Lesli Linka Glatter, Ava DuVernay, Lesli Lila Glatter, Ron Howard, Barry Jenkins, Lesli Linka Glatter, Ava DuVernay, Ron Howard, Barry Jenkins, Barry Jenkins, Lesli Linksa Glatter, Ava DuVernay, Ron Howard, Lesli Senator Alex Padilla (D.Calif.), Congressman Adam Schiff (D.Calif.), as well as 118 Senators, and members of both the House, have sent a letter to AMPTP urging them to engage in good faith negotiations.
IS A STRIKE INEVITABLE?
Both sides agree that it is not possible. Leadership on both sides has stated they want to avoid it. The negotiations between the AMPTP and the IATSE were resumed Tuesday.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THEY STRETCH?
The expired agreements covered 60,000 workers, meaning that most U.S. productions, including Netflix and network shows, would be forced to close down. However, not all productions will be affected. The IATSE contracts covering "pay TV," which include HBO, Showtime Starz, Cinemax, Cinemax, and BET, won't expire until December 31, 2022. The same applies to commercials and low-budget productions which have their own agreements.
The strike's duration will have a significant impact on the long-term effects. The strike by the Writers Guild of America, lasting 100 days, occurred when contracts failed to address "new media realities" and loopholes. It resulted in cancelled projects, shorter seasons of popular TV shows, and an influx of reality television shows to fill the gaps. Many networks and streamers have enough content to fill in the gaps.