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IATSE ‘Considers Strike’ As Negotiations With Studios ‘Stall Over Paltry’ Streaming Rates

Published Tuesday, September 14, 2021
by & Variety
IATSE ‘Considers Strike’ As Negotiations With Studios ‘Stall Over Paltry’ Streaming Rates

(NEW YORK CITY) – The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the major Labor Union for Film, Theater and Television Workers, is mulling a possible Strike amid ongoing negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

The Union, which represents 150,000 Workers across 13 Hollywood Locals, has released a statement to Members indicating a vote on a Strike could be forthcoming.

IATSE’s major priorities include living wages, reasonable rest (turnaround between shoot days), better meal breaks, and sustainable benefits - such as pensions that reflect cost of living increases.

The major sticking point in the latest round of negotiations is over rates and/or benefits for streaming projects, which are currently slated at a lower rate under the “New Media” classification.

IATSE argues that after 13 years, streaming can no longer be considered “New Media,” preferring the term - “Not So New Media.”

Crews working on Netflix series and movies are paid at Union rates, but benefits paid via residuals are a point of contention.

IATSE’s contract expires every three years, with the latest having already expired this Summer, but negotiations were delayed as IATSE joined with other major Unions in updating agreements with studios about COVID-19 safety protocols.

An extension agreement is now in place that stretched past a Friday, September 10th deadline as IATSE and AMPTP re-commenced negotiations.

“I want better hours, I want better pay, I want a better quality of life, for everyone,” wrote Costume Designer Charlese Antoinette Jones on Instagram. “We shouldn’t have to work this much and barely be able to pay our bills.”

Cinematographer MJ Shilling also shared he supported Strike action, writing: “As we draw nearer to the end of negotiations with the AMPTP, I feel the necessity to stand and show my support with my Brothers, Sisters and Kin.  It is imperative we take a stand against unhealthy and physically/mentally toxic working conditions, as well as the growing disparity in our wages to the ever growing economic climate.  As much as I would love an agreement to be reached cordially, I will stand proud and strong should we be called to Strike.”

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