Saying that “it’s time for pay equity,” some 1,700 underpaid art department coordinators and their fellow IATSE members have signed a petition calling on the union to demand significant pay raises for ADCs in the union’s upcoming contract negotiations with management’s AMPTP. An historically female craft, ADCs currently make as little as $15.39 an hour on TV shows, which they say is not a livable wage in Los Angeles.
Represented by IATSE Local 871, the petition notes that 80% of local’s 300 or so ADC members are women – and that their plight is not just one of pay inequity, but of gender inequality, as well. “This is reminiscent of the old Hollywood era that needs to change,” one of the organizers of the member-driven petition told Deadline.
ADCs, who oversee a wide variety of art department functions and administrative tasks – including legal clearances, research, and tracking managing the art department budget – are some of the lowest paid workers in Hollywood. The minimum rate for assistant production office coordinators, who are also members of Local 871, is only $14.33 an hour, and most of them are women too, and organizers would like to see their pay raised as well.
“Now more than ever, light is being shed on sexual harassment present in the entertainment industry and our workplace,” the petition says. “People are speaking out about the inappropriate and illicit behavior that has terrorized both women and men by instilling fear of losing job security and opportunity within working relationships.
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“When viewing this behavior through the lens of gender inequality, people in positions of power have used sexual harassment to keep an upper hand in professional relationships, to silence women, and to maintain the gap in an already uneven playing field. These acts have been covered up for too long. It is hopeful to see this collective shift towards rectifying long-held gender bias and sexual injustice in the industry and the workplace.
“However, there is another form of gender inequality that prevails in our workplace every day: pay inequality. And it is alive and well in our industry.”
“Is it any surprise then that ADCs have one of the lowest scale rates of any IATSE covered position in the industry?” the petition asks. “Did you know that the ADCs’ scale rate under the AMPTP contract for TV…is $15.39 hourly? In some cases that’s less than a production assistant, and in all cases it’s more than 50% less than their IATSE comparative working counterparts on the crew. We believe that this pay inequality is due to a combination of the craft being female dominated, misunderstood, and disrespected for many years.”
To highlight the discrepancy with other comparable crew members, the petition shows the minimum pay rates for other crew members who do similar work:
“With the backing of IATSE and its members, we can show that there is support of a scale raise for ADC’s. The AMPTP cannot ignore our collective voice,” the petition states, and urges IA members to “stand in solidarity with your art department coordinators, recognizing their worth and demanding that their wages be reflective and compensatory of that worth. Most importantly, demand that their wages be equal to their crew counterparts, with whom they have just as much work responsibility, accountability, and tangible contributions.”
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