The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, one of Hollywood's most prominent unions, is eyeing a strike.
In what could be a massive blow to movie and TV studios, many of whom are still trying to deal with fallout from the pandemic, the union's leaders have hit an impasse while seeking shorter working hours as part of a new contract, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
The request has been in response to longer hours that have become the norm since Covid shut down a large portion of the industry.
The union has a membership of about 60,000, most of whom are based in Los Angeles. They are threatening to walk off the job, should the union's leadership - which is countrywide - decide. This means that a strike would affect studios across the U.S., not just in Los Angeles.
In total, 1 million jobs "directly tied to film and TV production" could be affected.
Alongside of a historic labor shortage coming back from the pandemic, production has been on the rise as the studio arms of companies like Netflix and Amazon look to build out their content. Both Netflix and Walt Disney have told shareholders that the lack of new content has been a headwind for streaming sign-ups.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers says it “put forth a deal-closing, comprehensive proposal that meaningfully addresses the IATSE’s key bargaining issues.”
But the union isn't amused. It wrote to its members: “As you may be aware, negotiations with the major producers have reached a standstill. They refused to reply to our last proposal.”
The union is pushing for rest and meal breaks, as well as higher pay for its lowest earners, some of whom only make $15 per hour.
The IATSE has never gone on strike in its history, though both parties likely remember a writers strike from 13 years ago that lasted 100 days.
An IATSE strike could "cripple" the production industry, Bloomberg wrote.