LOS ANGELES (AP) – An 11-hour deal was signed on Saturday, averting a strike among film and television crews who would have seen around 60,000 behind-the-scenes employees leave their jobs and would have frozen productions in Hollywood and across the United States
After days of marathon negotiations, representatives of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage employees and of the studios and entertainment companies that hire them reached the three-year contract before a strike deadline on Monday, avoiding a serious setback for an industry that had just returned to work after long pandemic closures.
Jarryd Gonzales, spokesman for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios and other entertainment companies in negotiations, confirmed the deal to the Associated Press.
The union members must still vote to approve the preliminary agreement.
The effects of the strike would have been immediate, with crews not only on long-term productions, but daily series, including network talk shows, leaving their jobs.
The union represents film photographers, camera operators, set designers, carpenters, hair and makeup artists and many others.
Union members said previous contracts allowed their employers to force them to work long hours and deny them reasonable rest via meal breaks and adequate time off between shifts. The leaders said the lowest paid craftsmen received unlivable wages and streaming businesses, including Netflix, Apple and Amazon, were allowed to work them even harder for less money.
Details of the new contracts were not immediately revealed.
The union reported on October 4 that its members had predominantly voted to approve a strike, which sparked fears across the industry, but negotiations resumed immediately between the IATSE and the AMPTP.
On Wednesday, a strike deadline was set for Monday as negotiations stagnated, but the union said subsequent negotiations were productive.
It would have been the first nationwide strike in IATSE’s 128-year history and would have affected not just the Los Angeles area and New York, but growing manufacturing centers like Georgia, New Mexico and Colorado.
During the negotiations, many prominent names in the field of entertainment spoke in favor of union demands, including Octavia Spencer, Mindy Kaling and Jane Fonda. The Directors Guild of America also issued a Declaration of Solidarity, signed by Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Barry Jenkins, Ron Howard and Ava DuVernay.
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