Help Us Travel to Cover IATSE Strike

Strike signs being prepared in Burbank as 60,000 IATSE members prepare to strike (Twitter @runolgarun)

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Over 60,000 IATSE film and television workers voted are going on strike at midnight on Sunday against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. We are here on the ground and need your donations to cover it just like we covered the retail worker’s walkouts, the GM Strike, and the massive teacher strikes that inspired the nation.

We traveled to LA to Pittsburgh to cover it 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. 

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 more strikes. Already, many celebrities have come out in support of the strike and it’s likely to garner massive public media attention.

With workers striking across the country at John Deere, Kellogg, and in nearly daily retail workers walkouts, the strike is many ways a symbol of strikes across the country.

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. 

“I think both with what we’re doing and what [retail workers] are doing, it’s inspiring each other,” sound engineer Tom Pieczkolon told Payday last week. “A lot of people are starting to realize that they’re incredibly undervalued, despite their titles being essential, as ours was deemed essential in June 2020. And, I think essential workers want to feel essential, not just be told they’re essential.” 

Here at Payday Report, we have tracked more than 1,600 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
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]

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