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Hollywood behind-the-scenes workers voted to authorize the strike


Film and television production in North America is on the verge of a halt after behind-the-scenes workers voted overwhelmingly to authorize the strike for the first time in its 128-year history.

Film and television production in North America is on the verge of a halt after behind-the-scenes workers voted overwhelmingly to authorize the strike for the first time in its 128-year history.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees said on Monday that nearly 99% of the participating registered members, or 52,706 people, voted in support of the strike over the weekend.

There’s a contract pause on requests for more reasonable terms, including better pay, reasonable rest periods, safer hours and guaranteed meal breaks, for craftsmen, technicians and laborers working for streaming companies such as Netflix, Apple and Amazon.

“I hope the studio will see and understand our members’ resolve,” Coalition president Matthew Loeb said in a statement. “The ball is in their court. If they want to avoid the strike, they will return to the bargaining table and give us a fair offer.”

The most recent three-year contract expired in July, leading to four months of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the group that represents studios and streamers in negotiations. But on September 20, the day after streaming shows like “The Crown,” “Ted Lasso” and “The Queen’s Gambit” rocked the Emmy Awards, conversation stalled.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees has stated that it is “inconceivable that the AMPTP, a group that collectively includes trillions of dollars worth of media mega-corporations, claims that it provides basic human resources such as adequate sleep, food, etc. cannot provide behind-the-scenes employees with necessities, breaks, and living wages.”

The union said its members worked through the pandemic to ensure their business remained intact. “Now, we cannot and will not accept a deal that leaves us with a shaky outcome.”

The Coalition of Motion Picture and Television Producers did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Hollywood workers last walked out in October 1945, otherwise known as “Bloody Friday”, when a six-month strike by set decorators resulted in a riot at the Warner Bros.

Several prominent names in Hollywood have lent public support to the crew’s demands. Actor and producer Octavia Spencer tweeted her support on Monday.

“I hope #AMPTP does the right thing and settles down again,” Spencer wrote. “They’re not asking for anything inappropriate.”

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