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US screen strike sets Oct. 18 deadline

Union presses the urgency button on US studios to reach agreement over work conditions.

Here we go again (for those who can remember the great Writers’ Strike of 2007 / 8) …..

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees has set a deadline of 12:01 am Monday October 18 to reach agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers or members will stop work.

In the words of Variety, “Such a work stoppage would be catastrophic, halting production across the U.S.”

Union members are demanding better hours and working conditions, saying that the surge in production over the past decade has led to long hours and dangerous situations on set. These include a 10-hour turnaround between shifts for all workers, as well as a 54-hour turnaround on weekends. They are also seeking increased meal penalties, as a way to force productions to stop for lunch, and an end to discounted pay rates for streaming services.

“The pace of bargaining doesn’t reflect any sense of urgency,” Matthew Loeb, president of IATSE said. “Without an end date, we could keep talking forever. Our members deserve to have their basic needs addressed now.”

An AMPTP spokesman said in a statement that the studios will stay at the bargaining table in hopes of avoiding a strike.

“There are five days left to reach a deal, and the studios will continue to negotiate in good faith in an effort to reach an agreement for a new contract that will keep the industry working,” the spokesman said.

IATSE has received broad public support from other entertainment industry unions and members of Congress, among others.

The crisis also has the attention of Australian eyes with Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance ECS Director Kelly Wood saying, “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.”

5 Responses

  1. As far as I understand modern TV drama production standards require long lead times due to set building and developing CGI effects which are sometimes done before the actual studio work starts, when showrunners negotiate contracts for extended season shows the planning has to be well advanced so strict deadlines are imposed to get the financial commitment from the studios, most actors and crew know that the schedule is tough for 3-4 months with long hours, Stephen Amell sort of revealed this in his video blogs promoting ‘Arrow’, he had to work while carrying stunt fight injuries.
    Streamers like Netflix have better options by buying and making products overseas.

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