Workers in one of Hollywood’s biggest unions are considering a strike, and some of the entertainment industry’s most high-profile performers are showing their support. The leaders of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union, which represents around 150,000 of Hollywood’s crafts workers, have called on its members to give them the authorization to strike following months of stalled contract negotiations with producers.
IATSE has noted increased protests against adversarial working conditions, ranging from low pay and long workdays to safety concerns, and a potential strike has drawn vocal support from major Hollywood actors: Seth Rogen, Ben Stiller, Matthew Cherry, Bradley Whitford, Anthony Rapp, Josh Ruben, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Rachel Zegler, and Jeremy O. Harris are among the industry talents who have recently tweeted in support of the move.
“If you enjoyed our trailer for ‘West Side Story,’ you must know that none of the beauty of our film would be possible without the tireless efforts of our incredible crew,” Zegler, star of the upcoming Steven Spielberg-directed film, said on Twitter. “Crews work harder than anyone in the business, and deserve the best treatment. #IASolidarity #IALivingWage.”
Reports of a potential IATSE strike surfaced in early September following the contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). IATSE’s contract expires every three years and its latest contract expired in summer 2021. Negotiations were delayed due to IATSE joining other unions in updating agreements with studios about COVID-19 safety protocols.
Aside from topics such as negotiating for living wages and ensuring that workers get appropriate periods of downtime, a key factor in IATSE’s negotiations revolves around the “New Media” classification, which streaming projects fall under. Minimum rates for new media projects are lower than they are on “traditional” film and television productions and IATSE has argued that streaming projects have become an industry standard and no longer constitute “New Media.”
Although a strike could delay production on unionized film and television throughout the nation, IATSE and many of its members have argued on social media that it is crucial to fight for their rights and raise awareness about the poor working conditions for Hollywood’s crafts workers. It’s a sentiment that has garnered support from many of of the industry’s A-listers, as well.
Our films and movies literally would not exist without our crews, and our crews deserve better. pic.twitter.com/hFMCmWzUVT
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) September 22, 2021
I just spent 9 months working with an incredibly hard working crew of film makers through very challenging conditions. Totally support them in fighting for better conditions.#IATSE
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) September 22, 2021
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) September 21, 2021
#IASolidarity. Why? Because as an actors we need to speak up for our friends who make our careers possible. Right now they don’t have a guaranteed meal break. Or a even a MINIMUM of a 10 hour turnaround. Stuff that would make Bezos blush. Speak up. This is nuts. pic.twitter.com/zLeP5dPRgg
— Bradley Whitford (@BradleyWhitford) September 16, 2021
I stand with my @IATSE friends & colleagues who work on our shows’ crews. None of what you see would be possible if it weren’t for the skill, talent, & work ethic of these folks. They’ve been expected to sacrifice their well-being for far too long. #IASolidarity #IAStrike https://t.co/QJScp1AsRg
— Anthony Rapp SAG-AFTRA National & NY Board Member (@albinokid) September 21, 2021
— josh ruben (@joshruben) September 21, 2021
— IATSE Local 600 (@ICGLocal600) September 21, 2021
if you enjoyed our trailer for west side story, you must know that none of the beauty of our film would be possible without the tireless efforts of our incredible crew. crews work harder than anyone in the business, and deserve the best treatment. #IASolidarity #IALivingWage
— rachel zegler (she/her/hers) (@rachelzegler) September 22, 2021
Let’s get to Venmo’ing!!!!
— MOST TONY NOMINATED ONEHIT WONDER Jeremy O. Harris (@jeremyoharris) September 22, 2021