Hollywood workers threaten to strike next Monday

The main union of the entertainment industry, IATSE, announced on Wednesday that its Almost 60,000 affiliates will start a strike next Monday if they do not close an agreement with the Hollywood studios to improve their working conditions.

The strike, which was approved on October 4 by 98% of affiliates, would completely paralyze the majority of productions in the United States, especially in California, but also in other important states for the sector such as Georgia, New Mexico and New York.

“The pace of the negotiations does not reflect any urgency. With no end date, we could be talking forever. Our members need their needs addressed now“the group’s president, Matthew Loeb, said in a statement.

Without a pact, the strike would begin Monday at noon in Los Angeles (19:00 GMT). IATSE (International Alliance of Stage Employees) represents a large part of the workers who perform tasks behind the lights, as light and sound technicians, camera operators, set designers and makeup artists.

Most of its members chain temporary contracts with studios, generally linked to a specific project, and the conditions of their contract are set according to the guidelines agreed between the union and the Alliance of Film and Television Producers (AMPTP), the employer’s association that encompasses the studios and television networks.

Since a time ago, these professionals assure that they work long shifts, with no breaks to eat or get enough sleep or rest days throughout the week.

Likewise, the union demand that the salaries of employees who belong to the lowest salary scale in the sector be increased and that it improves the contribution of companies to private health insurance and pension plans, one of the main problems faced by the self-employed in the United States.

In addition, they want to eliminate a previous agreement whereby companies dedicated to “streaming” (online content), such as Netflix and Amazon, can pay less than traditional studios.

“It is incomprehensible that the AMPTP, a set that includes media megacorporations with a collective value of trillions of dollars, claim that you cannot provide teams with basic human needs like getting enough sleep, meal breaks and living wages, “the union said on Twitter.

The break in filming it would do a great disservice to the big Hollywood studios, which chain countless arrears due to the coronavirus and have invested in platforms such as Disney + and HBO Max, whose business model needs a constant flow of new content to retain its subscribers.

A spokesperson for the employer’s association once again insisted that “they will continue negotiating to find a new contract that allows the industry to continue its work, “according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The latest strike in Hollywood was convened in 2017 by the writers union and altered the filming and television broadcasts for 100 days. For its part, IATSE, which encompasses a greater variety of professionals, has not called a stoppage in its more than 120 years of history.

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