As It Prepares To Strike, IATSE Warns: “If The Studios Want A Fight, They Poked The Wrong Bear”


UPDATED with latest IATSE tweets: With its strike clock ticking inexorably toward 12:01 Monday morning, IATSE said today that it still hopes to make a deal with the AMPTP but warned that “if the studios want a fight, they poked the wrong bear.”

“Strikes are a disruptive tool workers are forced into using when all their other options have been exhausted,” the union said in a tweet Thursday morning (see it below). “We do not relish or seek out a strike by itself. It is a means to an end. Together, we decided that reasonable rest, living wages, and respect are worth the burden. We are hoping for a deal but preparing for a strike. Let’s not allow the buildup or our preparations make us forget what we’re fighting for – a fair and decent contract. That being said, if the studios want a fight, they poked the wrong bear.”

The statement concluded with an ominous quote from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Two Towers: “War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”

Art Directors Guild To Hold Membership Town Halls Thursday To Discuss IATSE Strike Preparations

Armed with strike authorization from his members, IATSE president Matthew Loeb said Wednesday that that the union will go on strike first thing Monday morning unless a deal is reached in the next few days.

Loeb said the union “will continue bargaining with the producers this week in the hopes of reaching an agreement that addresses core issues, such as reasonable rest periods, meal breaks, and a living wage for those on the bottom of the wage scale.”

He noted, however, that “the pace of bargaining doesn’t reflect any sense of urgency,” and that “without an end date, we could keep talking forever. Our members deserve to have their basic needs addressed now.”

In response, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said, “There are five whole days left to reach a deal, and the studios will continue to negotiate in good faith in an effort to reach an agreement for a new contract that will keep the industry working.”

Now there are only 3½ days left to make a deal and avert the first nationwide strike in the union’s 128-year history.

The union, meanwhile, says that some shows are speeding up production in advance of a possible strike. “In response to our strike deadline announcement this week, we are getting reports some studios are scheduling unplanned sixth and seventh days and additional overtime,” the union said in a tweet. “It is SHAMEFUL that during a negotiation focused on unsafe hours and other abusive working conditions, some AMPTP companies are intentionally choosing to risk the health and safety of our members to serve their own selfish interests.”

IATSE went on to tell its members that “If you feel unsafe or unable to perform services due to the long hours and extra workdays, report this to the appropriate Studio Safety Hotline immediately and request a ride or a room at the end of each day to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.”

IATSE Readies Picket Signs In Event Of Strike As Contract Talks Continue

Here are the latest tweets from IATSE, followed by the ones from Thursday morning:

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