MEAA backs US union as strike looms over work conditions
Long hours, pay and work conditions for US crews could trigger a strike, an issue which is also problematic in Australia.
The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance has backed US screen production union (IATSE) members after they voted to authorise strike action this week.
A ‘yes’ vote of 89.7% of 53,411 International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees members has had the immediate effect of forcing the big Hollywood studios back to the bargaining table after they had ignored calls for change to the long hours culture and liveable and sustainable wages and benefits for crews.
A strike is not yet official but could now proceed, just as the sector seeks to recover from the pandemic shutdown.
“The unity and determination to achieve change shown by IATSE members sets a benchmark for all of us,” said MEAA Entertainment, Crew and Sport Federal President Fiona Donovan.
“With 100% union membership on most productions, they have demonstrated that when we take a stand together, we have immense power to make our industry better. I encourage all Australian crew who want to achieve change to join their union so we can be in the same position.”
A report on working conditions in screen is to be released in the coming weeks and expected to show the extent of the problem long hours and fatigue world-wide.
After a near-miss car accident on a Netflix production earlier this year, a MEAA survey showed that two in three workers have fallen asleep behind the wheel.
“This vote to authorise strike action is a huge deal,” said MEAA ECS Director Kelly Wood.
“IATSE is the biggest and strongest union in our global industry – dealing with some of the wealthiest and most powerful corporations on the globe. These companies have driven an unsafe long hours culture around the world, and they need to realise that it’s time for change.
“Making the incredible entertainment people love can’t continue to come at the cost of the families and lives of the people who make it.”