Hollywood Union Workers Vote to Authorize Nationwide Strike

Hollywood union workers overwhelmingly voted in favor of authorizing a nationwide strike months after failed negotiations for better working conditions.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) said on Oct. 4 that 90% of eligible voters cast ballots and 98% of them voted in favor of the strike.

It was the first time in the union’s 18-year history that its members have authorized a nationwide strike, IATSE said.

“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,” IATSE International President Matthew Loeb said in a statement.

The vote does not necessarily mean that a strike will take place, but most workers who spoke to BBC News said they hoped it would be a leverage for the union in negotiating better deals.

If a strike takes place, it would be the industry’s biggest labor walkout since World War II and could essentially close nearly all film and television production in the country.

The vote came after failed talks between IATSE and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents major film and television production companies.

In a petition, IATSE said that AMPTPT failed to address “excessively unsafe and harmful working hours, unlivable wages for the lowest paid crafts, consistent failure to provide reasonable rest,” and lower pay for workers on some streaming productions despite having budgets equal to or exceeding those of traditionally released blockbusters.

AMPTP Spokesperson Jarryd Gonzales said that AMPTMP “remains committed to reaching an agreement that will keep the industry working.”

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