IATSE Strike Tentatively Averted After Deal Is Reached — But Some Union Members Aren't Happy

Several film and entertainment workers have expressed frustration over the deal struck late Saturday night to avoid an Oct. 18 strike

Crystal Kan, a storyboard artist, draws pro-labor signs on cars of union members during a rally at the Motion Picture Editors Guild IATSE Local 700 on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. Up to 60,000 members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) might go on strike in the coming weeks over issues of long working hours, unsafe conditions, less pay from streaming companies and demand for better benefits.
Photo: Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times via Getty

IATSE has averted a nationwide strike for now.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees announced late Saturday that it had reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) for a new film and TV contract.

"Everything achieved was because you, the members, stood up and gave us the power to change the course of these negotiations," the union said Saturday in a statement to members.

About 60,000 members of the union, which represents thousands of TV and film production workers across the industry, had threatened to strike on Oct. 18 and shut down much of Hollywood if they were unable to negotiate improved working conditions, benefits, and compensation for their upcoming contract.

In late September, the IATSE sent letters in California and New York warning that "a strike would effectively shut down" film and television production in the two states, according to Deadline.

However, some members of the union apparently are not pleased with the proposed 3-year deal, according to comments posted on social media.

IATSE said in a statement Saturday night that the new contract addresses various "core issues" such as meal breaks, rest periods, and a living wage for those at the lower end of the pay scale.

Under the new contract, 10-hour rest periods are required daily without exclusions. Weekend rest periods of 54 and 32 hours were also negotiated. Other items achieved include improved working conditions for streaming, the expansion of sick leave benefits nationwide, and employer-funded benefits for the term.

Man enters the union offices of The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 80, in Burbank, Calif. The IATSE overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike for the first time in its 128-year history IATSE Strike, Burbank, United States - 04 Oct 2021
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IATSE president Matthew Loeb had said the union would go on strike on Oct. 18 if a deal was not reached. He called the deal "a Hollywood ending."

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"We went toe to toe with some of the richest and most powerful entertainment and tech companies in the world, and we have now reached an agreement with the AMPTP that meets our members' needs," Loeb wrote in Saturday's statement.

Matthew Loeb, president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), poses for a portrait at IATSE offices in Burbank, Calif., . The union says its 60,000 members will begin a nationwide strike on Monday if it does not reach a deal that satisfies demands for fair and safe working conditions Hollywood Crew Strike, Burbank, United States - 15 Oct 2021
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

But some union members say on social media that several important items, such as length of shooting days and changes to new media (streaming) compensation, are not mentioned in the proposed deal.

Several workers have expressed their frustrations in a post on an Instagram page called "IATSE Stories," where film and entertainment workers can share their experiences and "build solidarity" with others in the industry.

Some members also commented on the IATSE's announcement on Twitter. A ratification vote will now likely come at a later date, per Variety.

However, Mike Miller, Vice President and Motion Picture Director for IATSE, believes that both union members and employers will "benefit" from the deal.

"This settlement allows pre-production, production and post-production to continue without interruption," Miller said in the statement. "Workers should have improved morale and be more alert. Health and safety standards have been upgraded."

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