TV & Movies

IATSE Members Prepare Strike Signs As Contract Talks Continue

Hundreds of strike signs were made at IATSE local headquarters over the weekend

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As talks between the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and Hollywood’s studios neared the end of a sixth day without a deal on Monday night, below-the-line workers in Hollywood continued their preparation for a strike as hundreds of picket signs have been assembled for a work stoppage order that could come as soon as this week.

The golden signs emblazoned with the IATSE logo outline the main demands that tens of thousands of members have voted yes on a strike authorization vote to win, including a mandatory 30-minute lunch break and hard rules on the number of hours that a shoot can last per day. IATSE is also looking for higher wages for workers on streaming productions and for the lowest paid positions in Hollywood.

IATSE leadership has accelerated the timetable for negotiations, as union president Matt Loeb said in a memo on Friday that regardless of whether or not a deal is reached, his team is looking for an end to talks in “days, not weeks.”

Crew members who spoke to TheWrap say that on the surface, business has been going on as usual on their productions even as discussions online that it could all suddenly come to a halt have risen. IATSE local leaders have instructed their members to disregard news reports of the negotiations, and both the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the studios, are in a media blackout as talks continue.

Meanwhile, sign-making events were held over the weekend at various IATSE local headquarters throughout Los Angeles, including the International Cinematographers Guild and Motion Picture Editors Guild headquarters on Sunset Blvd., Grips Local 80 headquarters in Burbank, and Local 44 in Valley Village representing set decorators and propmakers among other set design professions.

“Listen, nobody wants to strike, but these are ready to go,” tweeted Local 871 member Olga Lexell, who spoke with TheWrap last week about her efforts to raise money to cover dues payments for IATSE members who have fallen behind due to the pandemic. Lexell and her partners are still raising funds to allow members to pay their dues and be able to vote on whether to ratify a contract whenever IATSE and AMPTP reach a deal.

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