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The Conversation

Local IATSE chapter on the new national labor agreement with Hollywood studios

IATSE Strike film crew
Chris Pizzello/AP
/
AP
A sign advocating union solidarity sits in a window of The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 80, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, in Burbank, Calif. The IATSE overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike for the first time in its 128-year history. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

The union representing film, television and live production crews voted this week to ratify a new labor agreement with Hollywood producers.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE, voted 50.4% in favor and 49.6% in opposition. The vote came a month after negotiations with producers broke down and union members voted to authorize a strike for the first time in its 128-year history, prompting negotiations to resume.

There's been local approval of the national labor agreement. The Hawaiʻi chapter of the union ratified the new contract, voting strongly in favor.

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Tech. Sgt. Jerome Tayborn
Crewmembers work on Hawaii Five-0.

Tui Scanlan, president of IATSE Local 665, said the new agreement includes more financial deterrents to keep employers from working crew members for extra long hours.

Scanlan said members just want to have a better quality of life, get proper sleep, and see their families.

"Everything you see on screen is fantasy right, but it's built on the backs of these workers — from the folks that bring in the furniture of the scene, to the folks that buy the watch that's on your favorite actor's wrist, to the lighting to the camera movement," Scanlan said.

"If we do our job right, the audience is taken along for a ride on the story and they forget that there are actual people manning this camera," he told The Conversation. 

The agreements include across-the-board wage increases and increased compensation paid by streaming services, who had long been allowed lower pay rates, union leaders said.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents Hollywood studios and other production entities, said in a statement that "throughout the negotiations, IATSE leadership advocated changes to improved quality of life" and the "agreements meaningfully reflect the industry’s endorsement of those priorities and keep everyone working.”

Nationwide, IATSE represents about 150,000 behind-the-scenes workers, including stagehands, cinematographers, costumers and others employed in all forms of entertainment, from movies and TV to theater, concerts, trade shows and broadcasting.

"I have to applaud the resilience of our members for sticking through thick and thin and constantly showing up and operating at a high level," Scanlan added.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Nov. 19, 2021.

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