October 4 (WNN) — Union members representing 60,000 television and film production workers have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a nationwide strike, union officials announced Monday.
Results of the weekend’s voting by members of the International Coalition of Employees of the Theater Forum Has shown Leaders said more than 98% supported the nationwide strike authority.
The vote to authorize the strike for the first time in the 128-year history of the IATSE turned out to account for nearly 90% of the union’s membership.
“I hope the studio will see and understand our members’ resolve,” Matthew Loeb, president of IATSE International, said in a statement. “The ball is in their court. If they want to avoid the strike, they will return to the bargaining table and make us a fair offer.”
The union members, he said, “spoke loudly and clearly” in the vote that was “about the quality of life, as well as the health and safety of those working in the film and television industry”.
“Our people have basic human needs like time for a meal break, enough sleep, and a weekend. For the bottom half of the pay scale, they want nothing less than a living wage.”
The union voted last month after contract talks with film and television producers presented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
The studio has resisted the union’s demands, citing increased costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is instead seeking financial concessions from workers. The industry group says it has agreed to increase minimum wage rates for certain types of productions and to fill a $400 million hole in the union’s pension plan.
“In opting to leave the bargaining table to take the strike authority vote, the IATSE leadership walked away from a generous comprehensive package,” AMPTP said in a statement released to Variety last month.
However, the main sticking points seem to revolve around “quality of life” issues, which include “basic human necessities”, such as adequate sleep, food breaks and the living wage for the lowest-paid craft, union Is said.
Management, IATSE says, “doesn’t seem to recognize our core issues as the problems that existed in the first place.”