The main union in the sector, which represents tens of thousands of employees, snatched an agreement to improve the lot of film crews. The specter of a walkout weighed in the balance.
Camera operators, set builders, costume designers, make-up artists… These Hollywood employees, essential to the smooth running of the shootings, threatened to strike from midnight this Sunday, faced with the blocking of negotiations on a new collective agreement. Enough to paralyze the American film industry. But an agreement on the working conditions of these technical employees was finally reached at the last minute.
“It’s an ending worthy of a Hollywood movie”, rejoices, in a statement released Saturday evening, Matthew Loeb, president of IATSE, the main union in the sector, which represents tens of thousands of these workers in the entertainment industry. The convention now proposed “Tackles fundamental issues, including reasonable rest periods, meal breaks, living wages for those at the bottom of the pay scale, and consequent increases in compensation” from companies, lists the union’s statement.
Disney, Warner and Netflix had to give in
It took months of discussions and blocking to achieve this. The Alliance of Film and Television Producers (AMPTP) – which notably represents Disney, Warner and Netflix – refused until the last moment to accede to some of the IATSE’s demands. “We took on some of the richest and most powerful technology and entertainment companies in the world, and we got a deal with AMPTP that meets the needs of our members,” welcomes Matthew Loeb. AMPTP confirmed the deal to CNN, without commenting further.
The movement of these technical workers had obtained many marks of support, for example from actors like Julia Louis-Dreyfus or Samuel L. Jackson, but also from left political figures like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. He also raised the threat of a complete blockage of the American audiovisual industry, like what happened in 2007-2008, when the Hollywood writers had decided to put down the pen. The 100-day conflict caused a shortfall of $ 2 billion, according to independent estimates.
The film crews have not gone on strike since 1945. A six-month conflict had then degenerated with violent clashes in front of the Warner Bros. studios. The remake will not be for 2021.