Help Us Travel & Cover 60,000 IATSE Workers Striking Nationwide

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Over 60,000 IATSE film and television workers voted last week to authorize a strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers by a

It would be the first nationwide strike of IATSE film production workers in the union’s history and the only large-scale strike called by a Hollywood film production workers’ union since 1946.

Given the high-profile nature of the film industry and the massive support for IATSE coming from celebrities and others on social media, a strike at IATSE (the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees) is likely to inspire strikes and actions in other industries.

It’s crucial that we start fundraising now so we are prepared to deploy, just like we did when we covered the General Motors Strike in 2019 when Payday filed 28 articles and 30 videos from six different states and during the Amazon union drive in Alabama this past winter. 

We know the stakes couldn’t be higher for the union members of IATSE.    

With many IATSE members struggling financially after a year without many major film productions filmed during the pandemic, the AMPTP hopes to squeeze IATSE into accepting a concessionary contract. 

But that contract would double the amount of time union members are forced to work to qualify for a pension, and it would require members to pay more for their healthcare. 

Equally troubling, AMPTP is dragging its feet on agreeing to a contract provision that would require film companies to give workers a minimum of ten hours off when filming a shoot. 

Film production companies frequently like to work around the clock to save money on travel and equipment rental costs when out on shoots, sometimes leading to 16- to 18-hour days, which can lead workers to burnout and, in some cases, deadly car accidents. 

Not only is the Alliance dragging its feet on giving film production workers mandatory rest times, but it’s even refusing a provision that would require film production companies to give workers mandatory lunch breaks. 

Currently, under their union contract, film production companies are only required to pay workers for the time that they are forced to work during lunch breaks, instead of  giving them actual time off to eat. 

After taking a financial beating when film production shut down during the pandemic, IATSE workers say they’ve had enough and are ready to shut down film production nationwide. 

“If COVID has taught us something, it’s that we need to pause and rethink how we’re doing a lot of things,” Katie Sponseller, a production coordinator, told Variety. “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

Here at Payday Report, we have tracked more than 1,500 strikes since the strike wave began in March of 2020, and we were one of the first outlets to pick up the story of the unprecedented retail worker walkout. 

Because of this, we believe a strike like IATSE’s — one where 60,000 members will shut down nationwide film production — will likely inspire other industries to say they’ve had enough. 

That’s why it’s vital to get ahead of this story now.

Donate today so we can travel across to LA, Georgia, and centers of film production to cover the looming nationwide IATSE Strike and contract battle with the Motion Picture Industry. 

Your donations will help us pay for gas, camera operators, hotels, and meals while we are out on the road covering the IATSE Strike. 

If you can, show your sustained support by signing up as one of our 625 recurring donors so we can keep tracking strikes and telling the stories of workers fighting back. 

Thank you to everyone who continues to support our work.

Love & Solidarity, 


About the Author

Mike Elk
A protege of the late Bill Greider, Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered the drug war in Brasil and spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian. In 2016, he used his $70,000 NLRB settlement from being fired in the union drive at Politico to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. The son of United Electrical Workers (UE) Director of Organization Gene Elk, he lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Email: [email protected]

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