As negotiations continue between the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMTP), IATSE International President Matthew Loeb announced today that unless an agreement is reached by Monday, October 18 at 12:01 a.m., PDT, union members will begin a nationwide strike against the AMPTP.
For the past week, since the majority of IATSE’s 60,000 members voted overwhelmingly to give Loeb the strike authorization in the talks for a Basic Agreement with AMPTP, there’s been a big question of how and when such a strike might take place. After a week of renewed negotiations after this important vote, we now have a date, and the studios now have roughly three full days and then the weekend to resolve the issues and offer the labor union a viable option for a contract.
If there is a strike, it will be the first time a strike has taken place during IATSE’s long history supporting the creatives in the entertainment industry.
The AMPTP has responded with the following statement:
“There are five whole days left to reach a deal, and the studios will continue to negotiate in good faith in an effort to reach an agreement for a new contract that will keep the industry working.”
Furthermore, Local 600 President John Lindley and National Executive Director Rebecca Rhine released a statement following the IATSE announcement:
“For more than five months, we have bargained in good faith to get a deal with the employers that would provide our members with safer working conditions, fair wages and sustainable benefits. We have presented data on unsafe hours and inadequate rest periods, as well as lack of meal breaks. We have joined 12 other Locals in the fight for a living wage, sustainable benefits and ‘New Media’ rates that reflect the success of the streaming companies.”
“Despite all our efforts to make our positions clear to the employers, they have steadfastly refused to acknowledge even the most basic protections we require. Our greatest value is our labor, and withholding our labor is our greatest weapon, one that our union has never used before in negotiations related to a national contract. We are reasonable people, but we have been abused and now we are at a crossroads. Down one path lies the status quo, which is inhumane and unsustainable. The other choice leads to an unknown outcome, but it is the only possible way to making overdue changes, and that is the way forward.
“Our goal was always to negotiate a fair deal, but we all understood that a strike was a possibility. The will of our members to achieve that deal became crystal clear after 99.2% of our eligible members who voted supported a strike authorization. A strike is now a reality, unless the employers use the limited time remaining to make proposals that recognize the worth of the human beings that power this industry with their bodies and hearts.”
On Tuesday, Cathy Repola, National Executive Director of IATSE Local 700, the Editors Guild, also made a statement, which you can read here.
You can read the official press release from IATSE below:
LOS ANGELES, CA — International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees International President Matthew Loeb announced today that unless an agreement is reached, union members will begin a nationwide strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on Monday, October 18 at 12:01 a.m., PDT.
Loeb said the union will continue bargaining with the producers this week in the hopes of reaching an agreement that addresses core issues, such as reasonable rest periods, meal breaks, and a living wage for those on the bottom of the wage scale.
“However, the pace of bargaining doesn’t reflect any sense of urgency,” Loeb said. “Without an end date, we could keep talking forever. Our members deserve to have their basic needs addressed now.”
Last week, IATSE members who work in television and film production at 36 IATSE local unions across the country voted to authorize the union’s international president to call a strike if contract talks didn’t result in a new contract for 60,000 film and television workers. Voter turnout was 90 percent, with 98.6 percent of those voting in support of authorizing a strike.
The IATSE website on which the press release was posted includes a countdown to strike clock which is counting down until that date and time.
According to Deadline, a text had been circulating on Tuesday among IATSE members, saying, “Local IA leadership just got out of a meeting with Loeb. Tomorrow mid afternoon eastern time he is going to make an announcement that AMPTP has until Monday 18th at 12:01 am to make us a better offer. Leadership advised me to tell members to get your kits tidy this week. Be prepared to work on Monday but also be prepared to picket/walk off”.
This is a developing story and more news and updates will be forthcoming.