As the possibility of a full IATSE strike looms for Monday, IATSE International President Matthew Loeb and other union leaders will continue to meet virtually with AMPTP representatives on Saturday to try to hash out a new 3-year Basic Agreement and Area Standards for the union’s 60,000 members that’s agreeable to both parties.
These negotiations are being received by an equal mix of optimism and skepticism as many IATSE workers have already been packing up their tools and preparing for Monday’s strike if that’s the only way the main issues — long hours with not enough break time to rest or even eat is one of the biggest ones — can be resolved. Some are hoping the strike won’t happen, since they realize how badly it will affect production even if it’s just for a few days; others are eager to do whatever it takes to be given a fair contract, and rightfully so.
As mentioned, a number of preparatory meetings and training sessions are taking place this weekend, including an event in Atlanta at the Local 479 all to make picket signs, which will take place on Saturday from 1 to 5pm EST. Local 479 (the Motion Picture Studio Mechanics) is teaming with Local 600 for this event.
Otherwise, there’s no word from IATSE or Loeb, although a number of leaders of various Locals have reached out to members with a Friday night update.
UPDATE: Variety is reporting that IATSE AND AMPTP are close to coming to a deal after a few hours of talks on Saturday that may very well avert a strike on Monday, but the proposed contract would have to go to the membership for a vote. AMPTP President Carol Lombardini seems to be nearing to addressing the issues that have been addressed by IATSE leaders and members in the proposed contract. Sources are saying that Peter Rice, chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content, and veteran entertainment attorney Ken Ziffren have been key players in bridging the gap between Lombardini and Loeb over the past few days as they both try to avert the strike. One of the things from the studio that has helped with getting approval was including 10-hour turnarounds between shifts and 54-hour turnarounds on weekends, as well as a yearly 3% raise over the three-year term. The union is still pushing for lunch breaks and a lower wage scale for streaming work.
On Friday night, Local 800, the Art Directors Guild, received a notice from National Executive Director Chuck Parker on Friday night, saying, “So, to repeat, we’re still at it. We’re making progress but have not reached the Goal Line yet. Stay informed and be prepared.”
IATSE Local 80, which represents Motion Picture Grips, Crafts Service, Marine, First Aid Employees, and Warehouse Workers were far more blunt, stating, “Even though we are still at the bargaining table trying to get an agreement, at the time of this writing there are no plans to call off the strike. The strike would be called off only if the employers meet our demand and we come to an agreement that can be recommended to the members for ratification.”
As mentioned on Friday, there is a Solidarity Sign Making event being held in New York City on Sunday, Oct. 17, from noon until 4pm at Local 600 at 70 W 36th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10018, and all Locals are welcome to participate. You can read the invite below:
We also have a picture from today’s Atlanta event at Local 479 where the Atlanta-based Locals gathered in order to make signs and prepare for a possible strike on Monday.
IATSE and AMPTP have until 12:01 AM on Monday, October 18, to come to a resolution of these increasingly sensitive negotiations, or the 60,000 members will strike, something which received a 98% approval rate from the membership two weeks ago.
The situation continues to be fluid, the news continues to be breaking, and we’ll report on it as anything new develops.
Make sure you’ve read the IATSE FAQ with instructions on how to proceed if there is a strike.