Netflix used to send DVDs in the mail. Now, it’s all about streaming, and a major Hollywood union wants those platforms to pay up.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) is a union with 150k+ members, including editors, costumers, cinematographers, script coordinators, and more.
Back in 2009, IATSE and TV/film studios saw the future of streaming services — AKA “New Media” — as uncertain. Both agreed for “greater flexibility” when it came to employment terms and conditions.
Cut to 2021:
- Netflix has ~209m subscribers and just crushed the Emmys with 44 wins
- Amazon Prime has ~200m subscribers; ~175m use it to stream TV/film
- Disney+ has ~116m subscribers
- HBO and HBO Max have ~67.5m subscribers
IATSE argues New Media has become regular media now, and should offer the same benefits and pay as other studios.
A big strike is brewing
IATSE has been negotiating a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to no avail, per The Hollywood Reporter. In addition to increased pay for streaming projects, it wants:
- Shorter hours — many workers cite 12+ hour days
- Harsher penalties for skipped meals and weekend work
- Higher base pay for lower-paying jobs
If enough local unions vote to authorize a strike, it could open the door for the biggest strike in Hollywood since 1945.
Meanwhile, industry employees are sharing some brutal work stories to drum up support.
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