Hollywood may soon be getting an answer on whether a crew members’ strike will be taking place as a new memo to IATSE members from union president Matthew Loeb and leaders of the 13 west coast locals says that an end to talks with studios will be coming in “days, not weeks.”
“After four days of bargaining, talks concluded on Friday without an agreement being reached. Negotiations resume Saturday,” the memo read. “While we remain committed to the bargaining process, there will come a point where words must be replaced by action.”
Talks between IATSE and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, resumed on Tuesday after 98% of participating union members voted in favor of authorizing leadership to issue a strike if the talks did not result in a tentative agreement.
Both sides are currently engaged in a media blackout and have instructed members to disregard press reports on the negotiations, though the members’ memo suggests that the union is not willing to extend talks into November to get a deal done and is looking for a swift resolution.
IATSE and AMPTP are trying to bridge what had previously been described by the union as a wide gap on several key labor issues, most notably demands from crew members for a hard limit on the number of hours per day shooting can take place as well as rules against extending filming into weekends and mandated lunch breaks and other rest periods. IATSE is also pushing for higher compensation on streaming projects and increased wages for the lowest paid positions including script coordinators.
If a deal is not reached, IATSE will issue a strike that will shut down the vast majority of film and television shoots across North America, as talks are currently being discussed on both the Hollywood Basic Agreement, which covers shoots in the Los Angeles and New York areas; and the Area Standards Agreement, which covers shoots in the US and Canada. A major exception would be projects for pay TV channels like HBO, as they operate under a separate contract that is not being negotiated.