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Hollywood’s Behind-the-Scenes Workers OK Strike

The union representing the professionals working behind the scenes in Hollywood — set builders, costume designers, video engineers and others — authorized a strike following failed talks at the bargaining table, a move that could shackle new production, The Washington Post reported.

During a time when the demand for new screen entertainment is higher than ever and the competition to get those viewers is fierce and widening, a strike could be the tipping point for a new level of crisis in Hollywood, according to the report.

Almost all members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — 98% — voted in favor of giving Matthew D. Loeb, union president, the go-ahead to call for a strike. Representing over 60,000 production workers, the union will return to the bargaining table again before taking action on work stoppage, the report stated.

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Hollywood production workers have asked for improved working conditions along with a salary boost that is more in line with the income growth of actors and writers. The production workers said that the speed and volume of content that’s being produced make it impossible to have a work-life balance — or even bathroom breaks, according to the report.

“I hope that the studios will see and understand the resolve of our members,” Loeb said, per the report. “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.”

Last week, 120 members of Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, sent a letter to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, imploring that the next round of negotiations end with an equitable contract.

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“Failure to reach an agreement would threaten not only the livelihoods of these workers, but also their family members who rely upon work in your industry, sending shock waves throughout the U.S. economy,” the letter stated.

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