Claiming that “a strike would effectively shut down California state film and television production,” IATSE told California lawmakers “it is both scandalous and immoral that studios oppose basic workers’ rights , an opposition that could lead to a very successful shutdown of the industry. “
In a letter to state lawmakers, the California IATSE Council said that the Alliance of Film and Television Producers “rejects union proposals to provide safe working conditions, including periods of meals and rest for our members. Given their position, IATSE is forced to ask for a strike authorization vote.
“Given your long-standing support for the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program, for which we are deeply grateful, and which has had such a significant impact on production and employment in our state, we believe it is important for decision-makers in the state of California to know the facts, ”the union told lawmakers in a letter dated September 23.
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On the same day, IATSE President Matthew Loeb told its members: “We are at a stage where the employers have waged this struggle for power, not for reason. Therefore, we are calling a strike vote to allow me to appeal one if necessary. “
The letter to lawmakers was signed by Thom Davis, chairman of the California IATSE Council and chief commercial officer of IATSE Grips Local 80, and council legislative co-chairs, Rebecca Rhine, national executive director of the International Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600; Scott Bernard, IATSE Sound Local 695 Sales Representative; and Jim Beaumonte, San Francisco IATSE Local 16 Sales Representative.
Here is the full letter:
Dear Legislator: The International Theater Employees Alliance, the union that represents 52,000 skilled crew and craftspeople living and working in California, is writing to you to inform you of the deadlock in a collective bargaining contract over labor practices. dangerous work that has become intolerable to our members in this state and across the country. Given your long-standing support for the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program, for which we are deeply grateful, and which has had such a significant impact on production and jobs in our state, we believe it is important that decision-makers in the state of california know the facts. .
IATSE is currently in collective bargaining with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents media mega-corporations collectively worth billions of dollars. AMPTP refuses union proposals to offer safe working conditions, including meal and rest periods for our members. Given their position, the International Alliance of Theatrical Workers is forced to call for a strike authorization vote. A strike would end film and television production in the state of California.
The most arduous working conditions we are trying to improve include:
● Excessively dangerous and dangerous working hours, including Fridays which often last until Saturday (aka “Fridays”).
● Wages for the lowest paid artisans who cannot ensure a decent life. ● Incredibly long working days without any breaks for a meal, to drop off equipment, to unmask and get some fresh air, or just to sit down.
● Consistent failure to provide reasonable rest between working days and weekends.
● Below-standard rates for the same work on “new media” streaming projects, even on productions with budgets that rival or exceed those of traditional blockbusters. This “relief” is provided to the most profitable companies on the planet, including Apple and Amazon.
Despite booming activity, the studios rejected these IATSE positions that would address the most egregious health and safety provisions in contract negotiations. Management doesn’t even seem to recognize our core issues as issues that exist in the first place. These are working conditions that the studios already offer to the counterparts of our members in other countries, including Canada and in Europe. AMPTP’s refusal to move created an impasse, leading to the strike vote. They continue to characterize these issues as a “money” issue, but in reality they are primarily about equity, health, safety and planning. Affected unions include the 13 IATSE locals in Hollywood, as well as locals in San Francisco, San Diego, Orange County and statewide. Together, they represent 52,000 working women and men who live in our state.
As representatives of these skilled and unionized film and television workers, we again want to say that we greatly appreciate your long-term support for our industry. California’s film and television industry has flourished considerably since the passage of the California Film and Television Tax Credit program by the Legislative Assembly in 2014. The program has revitalized a film production community and television almost dead, with more than 52,000 workers and billions of dollars in economic activity each year. Additionally, post-pandemic film and television production is approaching pre-pandemic levels while many other industries are still struggling. Much of this is because our members returned to work a year ago risking their lives to ensure our industry a quick recovery. With all of this success, it is both scandalous and immoral that the studios oppose basic workers’ rights, an opposition that can lead to the shutdown of a very successful industry.