Hollywood is feeling the heat as crewmembers denounce 12-hour workdays, short rest periods and under-$18 pay rates. For months, crew members have been sharing horror stories of terrible conditions and since May, the major crew union, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), has been working on a new Basic Agreement with the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Voting on a potential strike is happening this weekend, and the union could call a strike as early as today (Monday).
Just as COVID-19 created an increased dependence on at-home entertainment, a looming strike is threatening a production halt. “How am I supposed to have a family while working 12+ hours a day (even longer when you add commuting)?” wrote would-be striker Kirsten Thorson on Instagram. “I love my job in the film industry but the industry doesn't love me back.”
It seems some progress is being made.
On the Instagram account IATSE Stories, where members can post comments anonymously, one person wrote that “the director on the show I'm on follows this page and after reading how the crew gets treated, has made it a POINT to wrap before we hit 10hrs everyday, not even 12.”
Celebs are supporting the strikers. “I just spent 9 months working with an incredibly hard working crew of film makers through very challenging conditions,” Ben Stiller wrote on Twitter. “Totally support them in fighting for better conditions.”
Seth Rogen tweeted, “Our films and movies literally would not exist without our crews, and our crews deserve better.” Grace and Frankie co-stars Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda shared a photo of themselves on Instagram with raised fists while wearing union T-shirts. Bradley Whitford tweeted that negotiators for AMPTP “refuse to even discuss guaranteed meal breaks or 10 hour turnarounds. That's nuts. If you make a living in front of a camera, now is the time to speak for the people who make it possible.”
If an agreement isn’t reached, movies, network TV shows and Netflix productions would stop being made.