Democrats back Hollywood crews threatening historic strike
More than 100 Democratic lawmakers on Thursday voiced support for film and TV production workers who are threatening to strike in a push for better working conditions.
In a letter to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which includes Hollywood and streaming giants such as The Walt Disney Co., Warner Bros. and Netflix, Democrats urged the group to ratify a new contract with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which represents around 60,000 industry workers.
The labor union’s members will vote this weekend on whether to authorize a strike after contract negotiations between the two sides fell apart. Workers, who say they are exhausted by an intense production schedule, are pushing for more time for breaks and sleep and better pay. The union is also aiming to end a decade-old agreement that says streaming services can pay lower wages to production crews.
“The key issues in this negotiation, as we’ve come to understand them, are about worker dignity and basic human necessities. We are unified in our belief in the importance of living wages, sustainable benefits, and reasonable rest periods between shifts and during the workday,” the lawmakers wrote.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) led the letter, which was joined by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
If production workers decide to walk out, they’d be taking part in the largest U.S. strike in decades, a development that would shut down the production of countless popular TV and streaming shows and movies.
“A strike would dramatically disrupt the industry, the economy, and the communities we represent,” the lawmakers wrote. “We are hopeful that both sides can negotiate in good faith and reach a consensus agreement, which necessitates both parties continuing to participate in ongoing negotiations.”
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers has argued that the union’s demands are too great, as the industry is still reeling from the pandemic.
Several prominent actors are backing the production workers, including Seth Rogen, Jane Fonda and Ben Stiller.