IATSE Members Vote to Strike

(Image credit: IATSE)

LOS ANGELES—In an overwhelming vote of support for a strike that could shut down TV and movie production across the U.S., the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees has announced that 60,000 members who work in television and film production across the country voted by a nearly unanimous margin to grant IATSE international president Matthew Loeb the authority to call a strike.

This is the first time in IATSE’s 128-year history that members of the union have authorized a nationwide strike.

Overall voter turnout was 90 percent, the union said. Support for strike authorization was more than 98 percent nationwide. Online voting was conducted by election management services company Honest Ballot between October 1 and 3.

“The members have spoken loud and clear,” said Loeb. “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.”

In the 13 West Coast local unions, where members work under the Basic Agreement, it was required that 75 percent of members voting in each local union approve the strike vote for that local union to authorize a strike. The same conditions applied to the 23 locals across the nation located in production hubs including Georgia, Louisiana, Illinois, and New Mexico operating under the Area Standards Agreement.

That threshold was exceeded in all 36 local unions with none reporting less than 96 percent voting to authorize a strike, the union said. 

The union noted that Loeb informed  the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers  (AMPTP) of the election results Monday morning, saying he “emphasized the need for the studios to adequately address the union’s core issues.”

Key sticking points in negotiating new contracts to replace those that expired last summer include higher pay, unequal pay for union members working on productions for streaming platforms and difficult working conditions, with long hours, that have been made worse by the pandemic. 

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.