Hollywood’s Overworked Crews Overwhelmingly Vote to Authorize a Strike
IATSE members discuss how workers in the entertainment industry have been run into the ground—and why they’re fighting back.
Members of the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. According to an announcement from the union Monday morning, 90 percent of members voted, and 98 percent of voters said yes to strike authorization. The vote could result in roughly 60,000 workers walking off the job and bring the entertainment industry to a halt. As consumers, we tend to associate the entertainment industry with acting stars, elite directors and producers, and big studio executives, but hundreds and and even thousands of workers make every production possible, and many of them are grossly underpaid, overworked, and denied basic necessities like breaks and time to sleep between shifts. Combined with the explosion of streaming services and ever-increasing demands for studio-quality productions, workers in the entertainment industry are being run into the ground, and they have reached a breaking point.
IATSE represents over 150,000 technicians, artisans, and craftspersons in the entertainment industry, including live theatre, motion picture and television production, broadcast, and trade shows in the United States and Canada. The union is composed of many different locals, not all of which are currently voting to authorize a strike. According to Deadline, “there are actually two separate strike authorization votes going on — one among the union’s 13 Hollywood production locals covered by the Basic Agreement, and the other covering 23 different locals outside Los Angeles who work under the Area Standards Agreement.” In this urgent Working People episode, we talk to a panel of IATSE members about the work they do and the significance of the strike vote (underway at the time this was recorded. Panelists include Marisa Shipley (Local 871), David McMahon (Local 52), and Fae Weichsel (Local 600).
Additional links/info below…
- Petition: Tell AMPTP to Give Film and Television Workers a Fair Deal
- IATSE website, Facebook page, and Twitter page
- IATSE Stories on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter
- IATSE Film & TV Negotiations Toolkit
- IATSE Press Release: “AMPTP Film and Television Negotiations Stalled, Union to Hold Nationwide Strike Authorization Vote”
- Marissa’s Twitter page and Instagram
- David’s Twitter page
- Fae’s Twitter page
- Alex N. Press, Jacobin, “Film Industry Workers Are Fed Up With Long Hours”
- Brendan Gallagher, Jacobin, “If Hollywood Workers Strike, the Entertainment Industry Will Grind to a Halt”
- Gene Maddaus, Variety, “Everything You Need to Know About Hollywood’s IATSE Strike Vote”
- Dominic Patten & David Robb, Deadline, “IATSE Members ‘Deserve Respect’ Says Union As Strike Authorization Ballots Hit Inboxes This AM”
Permanent links below…
- Working People Patreon page
- Leave us a voicemail and we might play it on the show!
- Labor Radio / Podcast Network website, Facebook page, and Twitter page
- In These Times website, Facebook page, and Twitter page
- The Real News Network website, YouTube channel, podcast feeds, Facebook page, and Twitter page
Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive: freemusicarchive.org)
- Jules Taylor, “Working People Theme Song”
Maximillian Alvarez is editor-in-chief at the Real News Network and host of the podcast Working People, available at InTheseTimes.com. He is also the author of The Work of Living: Working People Talk About Their Lives and the Year the World Broke.