Films studios and production crews reached a last-minute deal to avoid a strike by some 60,000 workers that would have frozen production on movies and television shows.
Representatives from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) union completed marathon negotiations with studios and entertainment companies Saturday to reach an agreement on a new three-year contract for production workers.
The workers still need to vote
The workers still need to vote to approve the deal, but the strike set to start Monday has been called off for the time being. The strike would have halted production on everything from big-budget blockbusters to daily talk shows and soap operas.
The initial outlook for a deal was less than optimistic, with IATSE president Matthew Loeb last week noting "the pace of bargaining doesn’t reflect any sense of urgency." "Without an end date, we could keep talking forever. Our members deserve to have their basic needs addressed now."
The IATSE said it was asking for reasonable rest periods, meal breaks, and better wages. Some of the issues include what the union says are unlivable wages for the lowest-paid, failure to provide reasonable rest breaks, and the claim that workers on projects for streaming companies get paid less compared with those working for traditional entertainment production companies.
Core issues at the heart of the matter
IATSE’S statement Saturday said the agreement "addresses core issues, including reasonable rest periods; meal breaks; a living wage for those on the bottom of the pay scale; and significant increases in compensation to be paid by new-media companies."
Hollywood remains fragile as it continues to recover from the COVID-91 Pandemic, which stopped all productions for a time. The IATSE reported on Oct. 4 that members had overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike. "We went toe to toe with some of the richest and most powerful entertainment and tech companies in the world, and we have now reached an agreement with the AMPTP that meets our members’ needs," Loeb said.