IATSE Contract Talks Stall – NCAA Launches Anti-Union Push – Construction Worker Suicide Rates Skyrocket

Hollywood workers strike during last year's Writers Guild strike (Photo Courtesy" Writers Guild of America West)

Folks, 

Greetings from the Burgh, where I am slowly rebuilding my energy after a long bout with the flu. 

Thanks to everyone, who donated to allow me take some days off from reporting and fundraising. 

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Film & TV Crew Talks Says Hollywood Contract Talks Stalled 

Earlier this month, IATSE seemed optimistic they would have a contract proposal to share with their membership. With the contract expiring on July 31st, the union hoped to wrap up contract talks early so members wouldn’t lose work with TV and film production being delayed. 

However, this weekend, a coalition of 5 unions blasted the studios for stalling in contract talks. 

“At the conclusion of our scheduled dates for June, we want to make it clear that we are not interested in bargaining against ourselves,” Hollywood Basic Crafts chairperson Lindsay Dougherty and four other leaders said in a statement on Friday after finishing up their second week of targeted negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. “There is a perceived lack of urgency on the employers’ end in addressing issues affecting our members.”

For more, check out Hollywood Reporter

NCAA Backs Anti-Union Campaign at Dartmouth 

Last month, the NCAA agreed to begin paying players as part of a $2.7 billion class action settlement without college athletes. 

However, the NCAA signaled this week that it intends to fight unionization in college sports. The NCAA filed an amicus brief with the National Labor Relations Board supporting Dartmouth’s push to block a union election for its basketball players. 

“It is not an overstatement to say that finding student-athletes to be employees will threaten the existence of athletic programs and, in turn, opportunities for student-athletes at many of the nation’s colleges and universities,” the NCAA wrote in an amicus brief. “The Board is not the place to address and disturb the longstanding relationship between student-athletes and the colleges and universities they attend.”

For more, check out Front Office Sports. 

Construction Workers are Dying by Suicide at an Alarming Rate

Finally, NBC News has an in-depth look at a spike in sucide among construction workers: 

“In the construction industry, we’ve generationally been taught that if you talk to someone about a weakness or you’re struggling then you’re weak and you won’t get hired,” said Azbill. “One of the reasons I talk about it so freely is so people know that it’s normal and it’s OK.”

The construction industry has one of the highest suicide rates among professions — with the rate among male construction workers 75% higher than men in the general population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated 6,000 construction workers by suicide in 2022, an increase from 2021, according to the most recent data available. That compares to around 1,000 who died from a construction work-related injury.

“When you’re more likely to be killed by your own hands than to get killed in a jobsite accident, that’s a crisis in our industry,” said Brian Turmail, vice president of public affairs and workforce for the Associated General Contractors of America. “We know pretty much what needs to happen to protect people physically. We’re figuring out how to protect people mentally.”

While construction wages are up and jobs are plentiful, those in the industry fear that the pressures on their workers’ mental health are only getting worse. A recent surge in construction projects, spurred by billions of federal dollars for infrastructure, clean energy and semiconductor projects have put increasing strain on an already stretched workforce.

As a result, workers are putting in more than 10-hour days in harsh weather conditions, facing high-pressure deadlines and having to spend months away from home living in hotels, temporary workforce housing or their vehicles. There is also the risk of workplace injuries and a higher rate of opioid misuse along with the general financial instability of hourly work.

For more, check out NBC News. 

News & Headlines Elsewhere 

Alright, folks, I’m hoping to be back for more next week. Keep sending tips, story ideas, comments and complaints to [email protected] 

Donate to help us cover workers organizing around the country. Please, if you can, sign up as one of 778 recurring donors today. Thanks again for all the support. 

Love & Solidarity, 

Melk

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]