IATSE Plans To Use Daytime Emmys As “Organizing Target” For Employing Non-Union Crew

EXCLUSIVE: A day after IATSE and the studios failed to make a deal on a new Basic Agreement, the Daytime Emmys find themselves in the labor spotlight.

Deadline has learned that Friday night’s Daytime Emmy awards has become an “organizing target” for the union, because a significant portion of the show’s crew are non-union. It’s understood that NATAS hired a company to produce the show on a lean budget this year.

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“Our industry is really good at recognizing the value that artists and technicians bring. It’s that work that makes shows like the Daytime Emmy Awards possible,” an IATSE spokesperson said in a statement to Deadline. “The IA is disappointed that the production team elected to do this non-union, and we are hopeful that we can reach an agreement similar to other awards shows, such as the Primetime Emmy Awards.”

The statement continues: “Healthcare and retirement benefits are key to craft and technical workers, and this production is no different. We look forward to a prompt resolution. Our members want to work, particularly after the last several grueling years. But they remain willing to stand up for themselves and each other to ensure the workplace is a fair one.”

Deadline understands there are plans for crew to picket, if a deal isn’t reached before showtime.

A source said NATAS, which is responsible for awarding the Daytime Emmys, was blindsided by the threat of a strike. The organization is aware of the situation and trying to work through it. The Daytime Emmys have typically been produced on a shoestring budget. Sponsorships help to cover costs, as NATAS’ main goal is to make sure viewers can watch the awards show.

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This comes on the heels of Thursday’s announcement that IATSE and the AMPTP have yet to reach a tentative deal on a new three-year contract despite reaching the end of their scheduled bargaining days. For now, IATSE has to make way for Teamsters Local 399 to begin bargaining on June 10. Deadline understands that IATSE may continue bargaining simultaneously with the Basic Crafts to give them the best shot at getting a deal done by July 31, which is when all contracts expire.

While progress has been made, a union insider told Deadline that “the atmosphere is souring” as wage increases and pension funding have become the big sticking points preventing a deal from being made.

The Daytime Emmys are typically a non-union affair, though the union has tried to reach a deal with NATAS in the past. Organizing at the event this year is undoubtedly IATSE’s attempt to flex some muscle, signaling to the studios that the labor movement in Hollywood is still going strong, even if things have quieted down since last year’s dual strikes ended.

The below-the-line unions find themselves in a tough position this bargaining cycle. They are negotiating a new contract during a contraction in production that has left many of their members unemployed. That’s in addition to the fact that many crew members are already financially strained from the work stoppages over the last few years due to the pandemic as well as the strikes.

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Both parties are acutely aware of the economic impact another strike could have on an industry that is already under duress. Senior guild officials told Deadline that no one expected the path to a deal to be easy, and they wouldn’t be surprised if talks on all contracts to go down to the wire.

The Daytime Emmys have finally returned to some semblance of normalcy on CBS after years of having to scrape for a regular home. CBS made a pact with NATAS to carry the show through this year, having aired it in 2010, 2011, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023. No new deal has been made for 2025 and beyond.

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