US production crews have given their overwhelming support for unions to strike in protest at working hours and conditions.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) has re-entered negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents broadcasters and streamers, armed with the support of its members.
Of the 60,000 IATSE members affected by the deal, 90% cast their vote over the three-day period, and 99% chose to authorize a nationwide strike – for the first time in the union’s 128-year history.
Meanwhile, a petition calling for a fair deal, hosted on the IATSE website, has attracted more than 121,000 signatures to date.
IATSE international president Matthew Loeb said members had “spoken loud and clear” and declared the ball is now in AMPTP’s court.
“I hope that the studios will see and understand the resolve of our members,” Loeb said. “If they want to avoid a strike, they will return to the bargaining table and make us a reasonable offer.”
The AMPTP said in a statement: “We deeply value our IATSE crew members and are committed to working with them to avoid shutting down the industry at such a pivotal time, particularly since the industry is still recovering from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Negotiations began in May, ahead of the expiry of an existing deal, and stalled last month when AMPTP rejected an IATSE proposal.
Bectu last week pledged its support for its US counterpart, which is campaigning for better pay for people working on shows for streamers and for the lowest-paid crafts, plus longer rest periods and stricter rules on providing meal breaks on long shoots.
Bectu head Philippa Childs said: “The extraordinary result of the IATSE ballot really demonstrates how the fight against long hours culture is a global issue that deserves international attention.
“We are proud to stand alongside IATSE and all workers in the film and TV industry, united in our commitment to eradicate the long hours culture that has plagued the industry for far too long.”