Hollywood Union Approves Deals With Studios in Close Vote
(Bloomberg) -- One of Hollywood’s most powerful unions approved new three-year labor agreements with the major studios, winning pay raises and concessions, and averting a strike in a close vote by members.
The International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees used an electoral college system to approve the contracts, with 56% of delegates representing some 60,000 workers agreeing to the terms. The popular vote was much closer, with one set of workers narrowly rejecting their agreement. The combined vote of members was 50.3% in favor.
A strike would have crippled major studios and numerous independent producers, which are rebounding from pandemic-related closures and the impact of health restrictions. IATSE has never had a nationwide strike in its 128 years, but many workers faced grueling schedules following Covid-19 closures that kept them working late into the night and over weekends.
“The main reasons we were ready to strike were not addressed in this contract,” Briana Rose Lee, a local union official and production coordinator in Minneapolis, said in an email. “What is upsetting is that we now lost our momentum for the changes this industry desperately needs.”
The union’s leadership reached a deal last month with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, averting a strike. The agreement called for higher wages for the lowest-paid earners, as well as increased pay and benefits for those working on a new generation of streaming products. Work hours, including for those stretching into the weekend, were also adjusted.
The Alliance represents major studios including Walt Disney Co., Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.
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