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IATSE Still Looking at Option to Strike, Looking to Membership for Authorization


ColorIATSELogoAs of the Saturday, the negotiations between the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) had yet to reach a resolution.While those negotiations continue, the union that represents 13 Hollywood locals, has begun to seek the opinion of its membership on whether the negotiating leaders (IATSE President Matt Loeb and Vice President and Director of Motion Picture Mike Miller) can use the power to call for a strike if that’s what’s necessary to reach a resolution.

Members of various IATSE unions received the following note earlier this evening:

“At 3PM today, the IA conducted a short Zoom meeting with all the ASA local leaders to give us another update on where things stand with negotiations for both the Hollywood Basic Agreement (the agreement the west coast locals work under) and the Area Standards Agreement (the agreement L479 and most of the other non-west coast Studio Mechanics locals work under).
Discussion was had during this meeting about getting member authorization for a strike. While bargaining is still in process, little to no progress has been made on addressing areas of the contract that we believe are priorities. Unless there is a drastic change very soon, it is extremely likely that the IA will request that the membership vote to authorize a strike.
Now, please take a moment to understand this fully. If a vote is conducted, it is NOT a vote for going on strike. It is a vote to authorize a strike. A strike authorization vote gives our negotiating leaders (IA International President Matt Loeb and IA Vice President and Director of Motion Picture Department Mike Miller) the power to call for a strike if they need to. Think of it more as giving them a tool that can be used if needed to convince the employers that we are serious. Taking a vote to authorize a strike sends our employers a strong and clear message that the membership of the IATSE supports our leaders and encourages them to do what they must to achieve the best deal. Even if the strike is never officially enacted, having an authorization vote supporting a strike from the membership is the only way to show our employers that we are all ready to stand together. In this case, to vote no is to cripple the negotiating process. A no vote tells our employers that they have all the power. If you can’t support our IA leaders by giving them your authorization to leverage a strike if it comes to that, then you are better off to abstain from participating in the vote completely. Local 479 absolutely, 100%, needs to show that we are in favor of our leaders using the threat of a strike in their negotiations.
Voting to authorize a strike allows our leaders to continue their current negotiating tactics, knowing that if they get to the point where they’ve exhausted all other means, they can call for a strike, and know that they have the membership’s approval to do so. 
Over the next upcoming days and weeks, we will be keeping you updated with emails, posts, potentially even town hall Zoom meetings, to make sure that everyone is fully informed with the correct, most up-to-date information. “

As it says towards the end there, these negotiations might go on for days or weeks, although IATSE is making sure to keep its membership informed of possible negotiating tactics that might be necessary, and that includes a strike authorization.

The site offering Basic Agreement updates has not been updated since Saturday, although this is constantly-developing and evolving news, and we’ll try to keep Below the Line readers informed as more information is disclosed.

Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas has written about movies for print and the internet for over 20 years, specializing in box office analysis, reviews, and interviews. Currently, he writes features for Below the Line and Above the Line, acting as Associate Editor for the former and Interim Editor for the latter.
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