Please wait...
Please wait...

US production strike averted as IATSE reaches ‘landmark’ deal with studios

The International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have reached a new three-year agreement over pay, rest periods, meal breaks and more, averting a strike that would have closed film sets across America.

Matthew Loeb

IATSE on Saturday said it had tentatively reached a “landmark” deal on terms and conditions for the 2021 Basic and Videotape Agreements, which covers around 60,000 below-the-line workers including camera operators, grips, prop makers, set dressers, makeup artists, editors, script coordinators and publicists.

While exact details of the deal have not yet been disclosed, IATSE said the new agreement achieves a “living wage” for the lowest-paid earners; improved wages and working conditions for “new media” streaming projects; retroactive scale wage increases of 3% annually; employer-funded benefits for the duration of the deal term; increased meal period penalties; daily rest periods of 10 hours between shifts without exclusions; weekend rest periods of 54 and 32 hours; Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday holiday; diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives; and expansion of sick leave benefits to the entire country.

“This is a Hollywood ending. Our members stood firm. We are tough and united,” said IATSE International president Matthew Loeb.

“We went toe to toe with some of the richest and most powerful entertainment and tech companies in the world and we have now reached an agreement with the AMPTP that meets our members’ needs.”

The next step is for the new agreement to be ratified by IATSE’s members. The ratification process will be conducted with members casting online ballots and is expected to take place within the next few weeks, although reports in the US over the weekend suggest the membership is unhappy with the deal that has been reached and will vote it down.

News of the strike being averted comes after IATSE last week said it would begin a strike, the first in its 128-year history, on October 18 if a new deal was not agreed.

If the strike had gone ahead, the impact would also have been felt in Canada, where a number of US-based IATSE members work on big-budget studio projects, in addition to the UK.

Two weeks ago, with negotiations at a standstill, IATSE’s membership voted unanimously in favour of a strike against the AMPTP, which represents companies including Walt Disney Studios, Netflix, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Apple, Amazon and others in labour matters. Voter turnout was 90%, with 98.6% of those voting in support of authorising a strike.

Mike Miller, VP and motion picture director for IATSE, heralded the deal as a win for all sections of the industry.

“Our members will see significant improvements, but our employers also will benefit,” said Miller.

“This settlement allows pre-production, production and post-production to continue without interruption. Workers should have improved morale and be more alert. Health and safety standards have been upgraded.”

While negotiations over the 2021 Basic and Videotape Agreements have concluded, talks are ongoing for workers under the similar Area Standards Agreement in production hubs such as New Mexico, New York, Illinois, Georgia and Louisiana.


Please wait...