IATSE Forewarns Strike Authorization Vote Ahead Of March Negotiations: “Not Interested In Extending This Agreement”

IATSE is ready to go on strike if upcoming contract negotiations with the studios don’t go their way.

The guild will begin negotiating two major labor contracts with the AMPTP next month, the Basic Agreement and the Area Standards Agreement. Both current contracts are set to expire on July 31. New campaign websites for each lay out the timelines that IATSE expects, both before and after negotiations begin.

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Within those timelines, IATSE is making it clear that there will either be an agreement, or the union will look to its members for a potential strike authorization vote. If an agreement isn’t reached by July 31, IATSE’s websites state “The Negotiating Committee is not interested in extending this agreement.”

“Depending on the status of negotiations around this time, there will either be a strike authorization vote, or a ratification vote,” the websites read.

Coming on the heels of last year’s major labor movement, this stance is to be expected. IATSE leadership has already made it clear that the union is looking to make considerable gains in its contract, and it won’t allow last year’s dual WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes scare members from authorizing another work stoppage, if necessary.

Last month, IATSE President Matthew Loeb assured that “nothing is off the table” when it comes to the March negotiations.

“Everybody’s bank account got sapped because [the studios] were unreasonable for months and months. My folks aren’t going to just settle,” he said, which was met with cheers from the crowd, as well as the labor leaders who joined him on a panel at CES.

He continued: “Folks are fed up. And I don’t know what to call it, if it’s a post-Covid wake of dissatisfaction, but people are ready to fight and the studios would be ill advised to think that they’ve weakened us to the point that we can’t,” he said.

Just last week, IATSE and the Hollywood Basic Crafts showed their collective strength by announcing that they would link arms for their upcoming negotiations over healthcare and pensions. It’s a weapon intended to show that the AMPTP’s old divide-and-conquer tactics won’t have much traction this year.

IATSE’s latest statement on its website is also another signal to the AMPTP that things will be different this time, since more than 98% of IATSE voting members authorized a strike during the last round of contract negotiations, though leadership never called one, and talks were extended several times before the new contract was ratified several months after the previous one expired.

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