Film and television production in North America is at risk of shutting down after workers behind the scenes overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike.
The International Alliance of Theater Workers said on Monday that nearly 99% of the registered members who participated, or 52,706 people, voted in favor of a strike over the weekend.
It is the first time that such an action has been voted in the 128-year history of the organization.
The problem is a standstill on demands for more reasonable terms for artisans, technicians, and laborers working for streaming companies like Netflix, Apple, and Amazon, including better pay, reasonable rest periods, safer hours and more. guaranteed meal breaks.
Alliance President Matthew Loeb said, “I hope the studios will see and understand the determination of our members.
“The ball is in their backyard. If they want to avoid a strike, they will return to the bargaining table and make us a reasonable offer.
The last three-year contract expired in July, leading to four months of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the group that represents studios and streamers in negotiations.
But on September 20, the day after streaming shows like The Crown, Ted Lasso, and The Queen’s Gambit swept the Emmy Awards, the conversations broke down.
Mr Loeb said his aim was to reach an agreement, not “to have a dispute”, but noted that the vote was on “the quality of life as well as the health and safety of those who work in the film and television industry “.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Employees said it was “incomprehensible that AMPTP, a set that includes mass media mega-companies collectively worth billions of dollars, claim that it cannot deliver to teams in behind the scenes basic human necessities like adequate sleep, meals, breaks and decent wages ”.
The union added that its members had worked during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure their business came out of it intact.
AMPTP said in a statement it remains committed to reaching a deal that will keep the industry working, especially as it is still recovering from the economic fallout from the pandemic.
He said: “An agreement can be reached at the negotiating table, but it will take both sides to work together in good faith with a willingness to compromise and explore new solutions to resolve outstanding issues.”
Many prominent Hollywood names have expressed public support for the teams’ demands, including actor and producer Octavia Spencer who tweeted her support on Monday.
“I hope #AMPTP does the right thing and pulls itself together,” Spencer wrote. “They are not asking for anything unreasonable.”