IATSE Votes For Nationwide Strike—Which Could Change Your Entire Streaming Schedule

Following a breakdown in negotiations between production companies and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) last month, the labor union representing over 150,000 television, film, and theater crew-members across the U.S. and Canada voted this weekend to authorize the union’s International President to call for a strike, if deemed necessary.

In a vote that saw a turnout of 89.66 percent , 98.68 percent of respondents (or 52,706 members) voted yes to authorize a strike. What follows next could be unprecedented for film, TV, and theater productions.

Why Hollywood Crew Members Need To Strike

IATSE leaders had emphasized that a majority yes vote will not lead to an immediate call for action, but does give the union more leverage to move forward in continued bargaining. Representing Hollywood’s megacorporations like Netflix, Apple, and Marvel is Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The negotiations include safer conditions on set, shorter workdays (which have soared into the 12-16 hours range), and a reclassification of productions made for streaming that would increase members’ minimum wage.

Several other film and TV trade unions have vocalized their support for IATSE’s reasonable demands to improve work conditions on set, including the Screen Actors Guild, Writers Guild of America, The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and more. Individual names on stage and off have thrown their support behind calls for solidarity on social media, including actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt and politician Elizabeth Warren.

We don’t know exactly what a strike will look like for any parties involved—or for consumers—as IATSE has never had to strike in its 128 year history. Business Insider notes that a strike would have “a rolling effect on productions coast-to-cast,” more likely to impact live shows and soap operas in the daytime. Over time, production snags could hit films and other larger, long-term ventures.

Given production delays already resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s possible that a strike could significantly impact production deadlines.

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