Unionized workers in charge of Hollywood’s less glamorous roles, such as rigging lighting, styling hair, building sets, and other non-acting-related tasks have officially voted October 4th to approve a strike. The organization announced that if continuing talks with the producers’ union do not result in an agreement shortly, workers will be forced to stop working beginning this Monday. Better working conditions are at stake, according to officials of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
A majority of union members voted in favor of going on strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. According to IATSE President Matthew Loeb, the union will continue bargaining with the producers this week in the hopes of reaching an agreement that addresses their issues.
It would be the first nationwide strike in the IATSE’s 128-year existence, with members including cinematographers, camera operators, set designers, carpenters, hair and makeup artists, animators, and many more. Union members claim they are pushed to work excessive hours and are not provided with adequate rest through meal breaks and time off between shifts. According to leaders, the lowest paid crafts receive unlivable pay. Moreover, streamers like as Netflix, Apple, and Amazon are able to pay even less under past agreements that gave them more leeway when they were newcomers.
I just spent 9 months working with an incredibly hard working crew of film makers through very challenging conditions. Totally support them in fighting for better conditions.#IATSE
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) September 22, 2021
Top actors have come out in support of the strike in past weeks, knowing that their jobs wouldn’t exist without the armies behind them. And most are themselves part of their own union, the Screen Actors Guild. “I just spent 9 months working with an incredibly hard working crew of film makers through very challenging conditions,” Ben Stiller wrote on Twitter. “Totally support them in fighting for better conditions.”
This seems like a win/win for everyone. We already know from the pandemic is the employers can change the way they do business if it’s in their interest to do so. We also know that as poorly received as a lot of Hollywood’s output has been lately, if the unions shut down Tinsel Town, many people will be okay with it.