The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) announced Monday that they will be moving forward with a strike that can carry huge implications for the entertainment industry. The IATSE has about 60,000 members, 47,000 of those based in L.A. county. Thousands of entertainment workers that work behind the scenes are on the cusp of going on strike to help get behind-the-scenes employees better working conditions and even higher pay.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees represents film workers like editors, camera operators, grips, set designers, electricians, make-up artists, and graphic designers across the United States and Canada. The IATSE has been going back and forth with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the group that represents most major film and television companies. The fight to ensure better working conditions and higher pay has been a long battle and one that is nowhere close to ending.
In a statement on Tuesday, the IATSE stated,
“It is incomprehensible that the AMPTP, an ensemble that includes media mega-corporations collectively worth trillions of dollars, claims it cannot provide behind-the-scenes crews basic human necessities like adequate sleep, meal breaks and living wages,” ... “Worse, management does not appear to even recognize our core issues as problems that exist in the first place.”
An Instagram page has become very popular with thousands of anonymous entries from workers that describe crazy work conditions, forgotten health insurance, some employees working 136 days STRAIGHT, 15 hour days with no meal breaks... and most employees not making more than $16 an hour.
The AMPTP responded to the claims of IATSE and suggested they have met the requests of the workers,
“When we began negotiations with the IATSE months ago, we discussed the economic realities and the challenges facing the entertainment industry as we work to recover from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
They continued stating they have implements all of these requests:
- Improvements in rest periods
- Increases in wages and benefits
- Increases in minimum rates for specific job categories
- Paying a nearly $400 million pension and health plan deficit
Marisa Shipley, the vice-president of the IATSE and also an art department coordinator, said that she does not believe that the AMPTP is struggling like they have implied.