October 4, 2021
By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -Members of the union representing camera operators, make-up artists and other behind-the-scenes workers on Hollywood films and television shows have voted resoundingly to authorize a strike if they can’t reach agreement with producers on a new contract, the union said on Monday.
The International Alliance of Stage Theatrical Employees (IATSE), which represents some 60,000 workers who also include the likes of sound editors and hair artists, said in a statement that 90% of its members cast ballots and more than 98% of the votes returned were in favor of authorizing a strike.
The vote does not mean there will be a walk-out, but it strengthens the hand of IATSE leaders in their talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
“The members have spoken loud and clear,” IATSE President Matthew Loeb said in a statement. “This vote is about the quality of life as well as the health and safety of those who work in the film and television industry. Our people have basic human needs like time for meal breaks, adequate sleep, and a weekend.”
The union is seeking to reduce working hours that can stretch to about 14 hours a day as the demand for TV shows and films has increased, particularly for streaming platforms such as Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV+ and Amazon Video.
It also wants raises for workers on streaming projects, who get paid less than for work on mainstream and cable TV shows under a 2009 agreement when streaming and online media was in its infancy.
The AMPTP said in a statement that it was “committed to reaching an agreement that will keep the industry working.”
“A deal can be made at the bargaining table, but it will require both parties working together in good faith with a willingness to compromise and to explore new solutions to resolve the open issues,” the AMPTP said.
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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