Hollywood strike averted after union and producers reach last-minute deal

Up to 60,000 behind-the-scenes workers had been set to strike from Monday over claims of excessive hours and unliveable wages

An 11th-hour deal between producers and the union representing 60,000 film and television workers has averted a strike that threatened to cause widespread disruption in Hollywood.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which includes camera operators, makeup artists, sound technicians and others, said negotiators agreed to a new three-year contract on Saturday, ahead of a Monday deadline that would have seen them walk off the job.

“This is a Hollywood ending,” Matthew Loeb, president of the union, said in an emailed statement. “Our members stood firm. They’re tough and united.”

“We went toe to toe with some of the richest and most powerful entertainment and tech companies in the world, and we havenow reached an agreement with the AMPTP that meets our members’ needs.”https://t.co/861fwvQNii

— IATSE // #IASolidarity (@IATSE) October 17, 2021

The workers still must vote to approve the deal, but the strike has been called off with the tentative agreement, avoiding a serious setback for an industry that had just gotten back to work after long pandemic shutdowns.

Jarryd Gonzales, spokesperson for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represented the studios and other entertainment companies in negotiations, confirmed the agreement to the Associated Press.

“Good for @IATSE for standing your ground. And don’t forget we got your back anytime you need us,” comedian, actor and writer Patton Oswalt said on Twitter.

Another actor, comic and writer, Yvette Nicole Brown, tweeted “#UnionStrong!” along with a link to a story reporting the agreement.

The effects of the strike would have been immediate, with crews not only on long-term productions but daily series including network talkshows walking off their jobs.

The union represents cinematographers, camera operators, set designers, carpenters, hair and makeup artists and many others.

Union members said previous contracts allowed their employers to force them to work excessive hours and deny them reasonable rest via meal breaks and sufficient time off between shifts.

Leaders said the lowest paid crafts were receiving unliveable wages and streaming outlets including Netflix, Apple and Amazon were allowed to work them even harder for less money.

Details of the new contracts were not immediately revealed.

The union reported on 4 October that its members had voted overwhelmingly to authorise a strike, setting off industry-wide fears, but negotiations immediately resumed between the union and producers.

A Monday strike deadline was set on Wednesday when talks stagnated, but the union said subsequent negotiations were productive.

It would have been the first nationwide strike in the 128-year history of the alliance, and would have affected not just the Los Angeles area and New York but growing production hubs like Georgia, New Mexico and Colorado.

During negotiations, many prominent names in entertainment spoke out in favour of the union’s demands, including Octavia Spencer, Mindy Kaling and Jane Fonda. The Directors Guild of America issued a statement of solidarity too, signed by the likes of Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Barry Jenkins, Ron Howard and Ava DuVernay.

Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report

Staff and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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