Hollywood production workers union says strike could begin Monday

Hollywood production workers union says strike could begin Monday
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Roughly 60,000 film and TV production crew workers will go on strike Monday if they do not secure a new contract with Hollywood and streaming giants. 

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) President Matthew Loeb said Wednesday that the union will continue to negotiate with studios to secure more time for meal breaks and sleep and better wages. If they cannot come to an agreement by 12:01 a.m. Monday, production workers will begin a nationwide strike.

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

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The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents leading producers such as The Walt Disney Co., Warner Bros. and Netflix, said that it wants to avoid a strike, which would shut down the production of most TV and streaming shows and movies that were already delayed by the pandemic.

"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 group said in a statement.

Nearly 99 percent of IATSE members voted last week to authorize a strike, which empowers Loeb to call a strike at any moment. Crew workers have complained of burnout sparked by long hours and little time for breaks. The union is also pushing to end lower pay for workers who help produce streaming shows.

Earlier this month, more than 100 Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter voicing support for the TV and film workers but urged both sides to come to an agreement.  

“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 news comes amid a wave of strike authorizations across the nation.

More than 100,000 workers, between the Hollywood crew members, John Deere factory workers and Kaiser Permanente nurses, say they will strike unless they secure better contracts. The nationwide worker shortage is giving unions more leverage than they had in previous years.