IATSE Avoids Nationwide Strike, But Negotiations Are Tenuous

Industry News   IATSE Avoids Nationwide Strike, But Negotiations Are Tenuous
Film and TV workers averted a strike that could have begun Monday, but some union members are less than satisfied.

Going into the weekend, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees was on the brink of a widespread strike that would have shut down TV and film productions across the country. The union, however, reached a three-year contract agreement on Saturday with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, averting the strike that was set for Monday—at least for now.

Negotiators arrived at an agreement, highlights of which include a rest period of 10 hours between shifts, a 54-hour weekend (the amount of time allotted to stars), increased financial penalties for producers who force crews to work through meal breaks, observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and three percent wage increases for each of the next three years. The brinkmanship negotiating mirrors events at the Kennedy Center one week ago, where IATSE Local 22 averted its own strike through revised contract negotiations, effective through 2023.

IATSE International President Matthew Loeb called the negotiation a "Hollywood ending" in a statement. That, however, remains to be seen, as the agreement still requires a ratification vote from union members. While many union leaders expect members to sign off on the pact, rumblings of dissatisfaction have the potential to derail proceedings. A report by Variety quotes several IATSE members who described the negotiations as "disheartening" and claimed to feel let down by their leadership. A campaign against the new contract has gathered momentum on social media.

A ratification vote is likely weeks away, as lawyers translate the conditions of the deal into contract language. Until then, productions schedules will go on sans picket lines in Hollywood.

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