Los Angeles: The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) has announced that it will go on strike if major Hollywood producers do not agree to a new contract and more benefits for workers. The move comes after stalled discussions with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The IATSE is demanding raises, better working hours and conditions for workers on sets.
Camera-persons, hairstylists, makeup artists and many others comprise the bulk of behind-the-scenes work on television shows and films and were being paid much less and worked for long hours under a contract signed in 2009 when streaming and online content was still in their infancy. Due to the pandemic, the workload had increased as demand for online content had increased, the IATSE told Reuters.
"Our people have basic human needs like time for meal breaks, adequate sleep, and a weekend," said IATSE President Matthew Loeb said in a statement. "...If they want to avoid a strike, they will return to the bargaining table and make us a reasonable offer."
The AMPTP has offered to improve rest periods between projects and to increase wage rates for crew members working on streaming shows, but the rates would still be below mainstream productions. The strike and its demands have been met with support from prominent Hollywood actors. Representatives from both sides will meet once more on Tuesday for the first time in two weeks.
"They haul sets, equipment, designs, at all hours in all weather. They are the 1st in & last out. They're owed livable wages & hours, & we owe them our unwavering support. Without them, there is no show," tweeted "Law & Order: SVU" actress Mariska Hargitay.