Mass strike averted: Hollywood crews reach new three-year deal with studios

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A deal has been struck between the Hollywood studios and a union representing the film and television crews that would prevent a landmark strike that threatened to halt production across the industry.

On Saturday, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) announced a new three-year contract that addresses IATSE’s calls for better working hours, safer workplace conditions and enhanced benefits.

The new contract includes a 10-hour lead time between shifts, 54 hours of rest on weekends, increased funding of the health and pension plan, and a 3% annual rate increase for the duration of the contract.

“All that was achieved was because you, the members, stood up and gave us the power to change the course of these negotiations,” the IATSE leadership wrote in a memo to union members on Saturday. “Our solidarity, both at leadership and grassroots levels, was the primary reason no local was left behind and every priority was addressed.”

The deal has yet to be ratified by union members. IATSE is currently working out how the ratification process can be done electronically, according to the memo obtained by NBC News.

It comes less than a day before IATSE’s strike deadline. This strike would have been the first in the union’s 128-year history and the first major crew strike since World War II.

After talks stalled over the summer, IATSE membership voted to approve a strike if a deal couldn’t be reached with producers. The union said 90% of eligible voters cast their votes, and more than 98% supported the strike authorization.

Their demands came on the heels of one of the industry’s most tumultuous times, as productions faced a global pandemic to ensure studios had content to deliver to consumers.

IATSE represents a wide range of industry workers, from studio fitters to wardrobe and makeup artists. In total, it acts on behalf of 150,000 crew members in the US and Canada. About 60,000 of those are under current TV and movie contracts under renegotiation.

An industry-wide strike would have essentially halted Hollywood production across the country, similar to what the writers’ strike did 14 years ago. That strike, between 2007 and 2008, led many shows to shorten or postpone new seasons and led to the cancellation of others.

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