By Don McIntosh
What promised to be the biggest-ever strike in film and television production is on hold as IATSE 60,000 members vote on a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The three-year deal—announced on Oct. 16, two days before the strike was set to begin—provides for 3% annual raises and makes progress on union concerns.
Extreme overwork and violations of workers’ rights to breaks were the biggest issues motivating members’ willingness to strike. Studios have been scrambling to produce new content, after the pandemic put many productions behind schedule, and also to meet a growing audience appetite for streaming. IATSE’s previous contract levied penalties whenever meal breaks were missed or delayed, but studios increasingly paid the penalties and denied the breaks, while also imposing mandatory overtime that in some cases risked workers’ health and safety.
The new contract escalates penalties for missed or delayed meals, guarantees at least 10 hours between shifts, and requires at least 54 hours off after members work five consecutive days in a week.
The second big issue was an end to lower wages on streaming productions like Amazon, Netflix, and Apple TV, a concession IATSE agreed to when streaming was new and experimental. Wages have been as much as 6% lower in streaming, depending on the specialty. The new agreement brings streaming productions with budgets over $20 million close to parity with regular productions.
The contract ratification vote will begin on Nov. 12, and the results will be announced Nov. 15.