These last-ditch negotiations come after 53,000 IATSE members voted almost unanimously to give their president, Matthew Loeb, the authority to call a strike if he and AMPTP president Carol Lombardini cannot come to terms on a new deal. The two sides have been bargaining, on and off, since May 18, but this week’s latest round of talks will be the last before a deal is reached or a strike is called. A strike, if it comes to that, would be the first nationwide strike in the union’s history.
The talks are being conducted virtually, as they have been throughout the lengthy bargaining process because of the Covid pandemic.
After this weekend’s strike authorization vote, Loeb said: “I hope that the studios will see and understand the resolve of our members. The ball is in their court. If they want to avoid a strike, they will return to the bargaining table and make us a reasonable offer.”
The members, he said, “have spoken loud and clear. This vote is about the quality of life as well as the health and safety of those who work in the film and television industry. Our people have basic human needs like time for meal breaks, adequate sleep, and a weekend. For those at the bottom of the pay scale, they deserve nothing less than a living wage.”
The AMPTP said on Monday that it “remains committed to reaching an agreement that will keep the industry working. We deeply value our IATSE crew members and are committed to working with them to avoid shutting down the industry at such a pivotal time, particularly since the industry is still recovering from the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. A deal can be made at the bargaining table, but it will require both parties working together in good faith with a willingness to compromise and to explore new solutions to resolve the open issues.”