Around 60,000 video business production workers are set to walk off the job this weekend, with the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) expected to vote to authorize a strike.
IATSE is the union that represents makeup artists, camera operators, set decorators and many other workers humming for the video production business, which is still ramping up after grinding to a near halt during the COVID lockdown last year.
Production demand is exceedingly high right now, with the number of recent streaming launches trying to distinguish themselves with original shows and movies. It is, to a large extent, the long hours serving this high demand that's driving IATSE members to demand change.
Among other demands, IATSE workers are seeking a 10-hour break between production days, and a 54-hour break on weekends. The latter would put an end to the dreaded “Fraturday” — the dynamic of Friday production ending on Saturday morning.
“These issues are real for the workers in our industry, and change is long overdue,” IATSE said in a press release published last weekend. “However, the explosion of streaming combined with the pandemic has elevated and aggravated working conditions, bringing 60,000 behind-the-scenes workers covered by these contracts to a breaking point,” IATSE added. We risked our health and safety all year, working through the Pandemic to ensure that our business emerged intact. Now, we cannot and will not accept a deal that leaves us with an unsustainable outcome.”
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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