Political Pressure Mounting On AMPTP To Make Fair Deal With IATSE – Deadline

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Political pressure is mounting on the AMPTP to negotiate a fair deal with IATSE. In the past two days, more than 200 state and federal Democratic lawmakers have signed letters to AMPTP president Carol Lombardini, urging her to bargain fairly and avert a labor stoppage during the pandemic. The union’s members began voting for strike authorization on Friday, and results will be announced Monday.

Fifty California state senators and Assembly members, including the legislature’s top leaders, sent Lombardini a letter today urging the AMPTP to negotiate “collaboratively and in good faith” with the union. Signers include State Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins; Speaker Anthony Rendon; Senate Labor Committee Chair Dave Cortese; Assembly Labor Committee Chair Ash Kalra; Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, and Assembly Member Autumn Burke.

“AMPTP’s unwillingness to reasonably or responsibly respond to these and other important issues has reportedly created a deadlock and compelled IATSE to call a nationwide strike authorization vote on October 1, 2021,” the legislators wrote (read the full letter here and below). “A strike would dramatically disrupt the industry, the economy, and the communities we represent. We are hopeful that both sides can negotiate in good faith and reach a consensus agreement, which necessitates both parties continuing to participate in ongoing negotiations.”

“The key issues in this negotiation, as we’ve come to understand them, are about worker dignity and basic human necessities. We are unified in our belief in the importance of living wages, sustainable benefits, and reasonable rest periods between shifts and during the workday,” the letter says. “We ask that the AMPTP negotiate collaboratively with these workers to reach a fair contract and address the basic human needs that will allow them to do their jobs safely and with dignity.”

The letter was signed by senators Atkins, Allen, Becker, Caballero, Cortese, Durazo, L. Gonzalez, Hertzberg, Hueso, Laird, Leyva, Min, Newman, Portantino, Rubio, Skinner, Stern, Umberg, and Wiener; and by Assembly Members Rendon, Aguiar Curry, Bennett, Berman, Bloom, Boerner Horvath, Bonta, Burke, Calderon, Carrillo, Cervantes, Chiu, Friedman, C Garcia, Gabriel, Gonzalez, Irwin, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, Lee, Levine, McCarty, Nazarian, O’Donnell, Quirk-Silva, L Rivas, R Rivas, Rubio, Santiago, Ward and Wicks.

Their letter is similar to one sent to Lombardini earlier today by 33 state legislators in New York, and contains identical passages about the “AMPTP’s unwillingness to reasonably or responsibly respond to these and other important issues has reportedly created a deadlock. …” (Read that letter in full here.)

On Thursday, more than 100 Democrats in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives sent Lombardini an almost identical letter. The AMPTP has yet to respond publicly.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) posted her own video in support of IATSE earlier today.

This is the letter sent today by the California legislators:

Dear Ms. Lombardini:

California is home to the most vibrant entertainment industry in the world. We are all proud of the incredible productions made in California and the Legislature has worked hard to incentivize bringing work home. Our state’s investment helped to revive this industry and we are happy to see that production is booming.

On behalf of our constituents, who work in, rely upon, and benefit from the work in this industry, we urge you to negotiate fair successor contracts with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

The men and women of IATSE, including production and department coordinators, writers’ assistants, cinematographers, costumers, grips, script supervisors, technicians, designers, and other essential below-the-line employees, are the backbone of this industry. Their hard work, skill and dedication helps to create the magic of Hollywood.

These workers have risked their health and safety for the past year, working through the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure the motion picture and television industry remained intact. Production has now returned to pre-pandemic levels, due in no small part to the essential role these workers play in the creative process. The entertainment you jointly produce is helping to heal our nation.

The key issues in this negotiation, as we understand them, are about worker dignity and basic human necessities. We are unified in our belief in the importance of living wages, sustainable benefits, and reasonable rest periods between shifts and during the workday.

AMPTP’s unwillingness to reasonably or responsibly respond to these and other important issues has reportedly created a deadlock and compelled IATSE to call a nationwide strike authorization vote on October 1, 2021. A strike would dramatically disrupt the industry, the economy, and the communities we represent. We are hopeful that both sides can negotiate in good faith and reach a consensus agreement, which necessitates both parties continuing to participate in ongoing negotiations.

The strong labor-management partnership in the entertainment industry has been essential to its success. It has also been key to the ability of all the unions and employers to respond when faced with difficult issues that impact the industry as evidenced by the unique COVID safety protocols that were jointly agreed to and put in place in 2020. We urge the AMPTP to recognize the sacrifices made by workers in this industry, to negotiate in good faith, and to reach a fair contract to address the core issues of health and safety, reasonable workhours, and fair pay.

Behind every great film and television show is a hardworking crew. Let’s work together to keep this industry thriving and ensure fair treatment for our skilled craftspeople and crew.

cc. Melissa Patack, Vice President, State Government Affairs, Motion Picture Association
California IATSE Council

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