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Local film and television union head says members are prepared for strike

Tech. Sgt. Jerome Tayborn
U.S Air Force

The head of the local union for film and television workers hopes a strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers can be avoided.

But if negotiations on a new labor agreement fall through, he said they are prepared to walk off the job early next week.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees International said its 60,000 members will strike as of 12:01 a.m. Monday — if their demands for better working conditions and higher pay for some workers are not met.

Tui Scanlan, president of IATSE Local 665, said working conditions on local film and television sets are often grueling, with 18-hour workdays not uncommon. He said the current negotiations are critical to the union’s future.

"I don’t want to have to fight," Scanalan said. "But if that’s what it comes to, then so be it. It’s not necessarily even for me, and not necessarily this generation of workers. The outcome of these negotiations will echo in our industry for generations. It sets the foundation for not only us, but for the other unions that are involved in entertainment. There’s a lot riding on this."

Scanlan said there is never a good time for a strike, especially since the pandemic shut down the industry for months, and some of his members are struggling to find work.

The union said it is fighting for issues such as reasonable rest periods, set meal breaks, and a living wage for members at the bottom of the pay scale. Members have been working without a contract since Sept. 10.

Union officials said a lack of urgency in negotiations with film and television producers led to the strike notice.

Scott Kim was a news editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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