As expected, members of the union representing camera operators, makeup artists and thousands of other below-the-line TV and film production workers voted overwhelmingly to strike Monday.
Around 90% of the nearly 60,000 International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) membership voted. And of those, 98.7% voted to strike.
“The members have spoken loud and clear,” Matthew D. Loeb, the group's international president, 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. For those at the bottom of the pay scale, they deserve nothing less than a living wage.”
IATSE is complaining about long hours and harsh conditions for its workers, who are stretched thin amid the programming demands of the streaming wars.
Among IATSE's beefs: No more "Fraturdays," the phenomena of a Friday workday ending on Saturday morning.
For the major subscription streaming services, the strike comes at a bad time, with SVODs finally catching up on their original programming production schedules after COVID restrictions ground them to a halt last year.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which has been unable to carve out a new contract with IATSE, released this statement:
“The AMPTP remains committed to reaching an agreement that will keep the industry working. 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. 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.”
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. His reliable mid-range jump shot, deft ambidextrous post-up game and tough interior defense have been criminally overlooked.
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