The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) has set a strike deadline for Monday, October 18, pending the outcome of negotiations with production companies. IATSE's deadline comes after strikes by food production and auto industry unions.
Negotiations between IATSE and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have been tense and protracted, with studios reportedly entrenching themselves after a weekend of talks.
"However, the pace of bargaining doesn't reflect any sense of urgency," IATSE President Matthew Loeb said in the union's press release. "Without an end date, we could keep talking forever. Our members deserve to have their basic needs addressed now."
The vote empowering Loeb to strike the deadline came last week; at 90% turnout, IATSE members voted overwhelmingly by a margin of over 98% to authorize the calling of a strike. A national strike is a first for the union, which has historically proven reluctant to take more drastic steps during negotiations.
If the vote margin wasn't enough, however, the social media accounts of many IATSE members have been active as of late. Members have taken to sites like Facebook
The motivation of the union's members to strike isn't surprising, given the increasingly grueling nature of media production amid pandemic-related disruptions. Many workers in 2020 went from weeks of downtime amid production shutdowns to production schedules far more demanding and exhausting than pre-pandemic. The rush to catch up with demand has been devastating to workers, many of whom are so exhausted that they see the looming strike as an opportunity to rest finally.
The conditions faced by production workers have caused a great deal of public support to form around IATSE, from actors and actresses such as Seth Rogen and Jane Fonda to politicians such as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
IATSE's strike also comes as many other unions have sought to leverage the shift in bargaining power amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Workers of Kelloggs