PRESIDENT, NATIONAL PRESS CLUB, LISA NICOLE MATTHEWS:
"Can I be nosy? What did you...?
PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO, LIZ SHULER:
"Yes, I'm sorry. It's unusual to receive a note while I'm up here. IATSE workers, 60,000 workers I mentioned in film and television just announced that they are going on strike on Monday, regardless of, they have this window to make progress at the bargaining table but if they don't, they're going on strike on Monday. So you heard it here."
During an interview at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, the President of AFL-CIO – a major U.S. federation of unions – was briefly interrupted to announce that behind-the-scenes workers on Hollywood films and television shows will launch a major nationwide strike next Monday if they don’t make progress at the bargaining table.
The work stoppage threatens to devastate major studios, if the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, or IATSE members, follow through with their planned strike….which would come not long after most sets resumed filming following health crisis shut downs.
AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler on Wednesday said she’d stand with the many off-screen employees.
SHULER: “This will be, you know, one of the largest work stoppages that most of the country will take notice on and of course, we spoke about the snacks getting us through the pandemic - film and television has been a baseline for most people and these are the people that actually make that content happen, so we will stand with them in solidarity. We will use the full breadth of power of the labor movement to make sure that these companies are feeling the pain.”
Last week, 90% of IATSE members cast ballots – with nearly all of those votes in favor of authorizing a strike.
The union wants to reduce working hours that can be as much as 14 hours a day as the demand for content has increased, particularly for streaming platforms.
In the hopes of reaching an agreement on a new contract before the Monday deadline, the union will continue bargaining with producers this week on issues such as reasonable rest periods, meal breaks, and pay increases for those at the bottom of the wage scale.