Political pressure is mounting on the AMPTP negotiate a fair deal with IATSE. In the past two days, more than 200 state and federal Democratic lawmakers signed letters to AMPTP chair Carol Lombardini, urging her to negotiate fairly and avoid a work stoppage during the pandemic. Union members started voting for the strike authorization on Friday and the results will be announced on Monday.
Fifty California State senators and members of the Assembly, including top leaders of the legislature, sent Lombardini a letter today urging the AMPTP to negotiate “in collaboration and in good faith” with the union. The signatories include Pro Tempore President of the State Senate, Toni Atkins; Speaker Anthony Rendon; Senate Labor Committee Chairman Dave Cortese; Ash Kalra, Chairman of the Assembly Labor Committee; Senator María Elena Durazo and Assemblywoman Autumn Burke.
“AMPTP’s unwillingness to respond reasonably or responsibly to these and other major issues has created an impasse and forced IATSE to call a nationwide strike authorization vote on October 1, 2021,” they wrote legislators (read the full letter here and below). “A strike would drastically disrupt the industry, the economy and the communities that we represent. We are hopeful that both parties can negotiate in good faith and reach a consensus agreement, which requires that both parties continue to participate in the ongoing negotiations. “
“The key issues in this negotiation, as we have come to understand them, are about the dignity of the worker and basic human needs. We are united 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 in collaboration with these workers to reach a fair contract and address the basic human needs that will allow them to do their jobs with safety and dignity.”
The letter was signed by Senators Atkins, Allen, Becker, Caballero, Cortese, Durazo, L. González, 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 García, Gabriel, González, Irwin, Jones-Sawyer, Kalra, Lee, Levine , McCarty, Nazarian, O’Donnell, Quirk-Silva, L Rivas, R Rivas, Rubio, Santiago, Ward and Wicks.
His letter is similar to the one sent to Lombardini today by 33 state legislators in New York, and contains identical passages on “the AMPTP’s unwillingness to respond reasonably or responsibly to these and other major issues has created a deadlock. … ”(Read that letter in its entirety here.)
On Thursday, more than 100 Democrats in the US Senate and House of Representatives. sent Lombardini an almost identical letter. The AMPTP has yet to respond publicly.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) posted his own video in support of IATSE today.
This is the letter sent today by California legislators:
Dear Mrs. 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 encourage bringing work home. Our state’s investment helped revive this industry and we are happy to see that production is booming.
On behalf of our constituents, who work, trust and benefit from working in this industry, we urge you to negotiate fair successor contracts with the International Alliance of Theater Stage Employees (IATSE).
The men and women of IATSE, including production and department coordinators, writing assistants, cinematographers, costumes, grips, script supervisors, technicians, designers and other essential employees below the line, are the backbone of this industry. Your hard work, skill, and dedication help 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 that the film and television industry remained intact. Production has now returned to pre-pandemic levels, due in large part to the essential role these workers play in the creative process. The entertainment they jointly produce is helping to heal our nation.
The key issues in this negotiation, as we understand them, concern the dignity of the worker and basic human needs. We are united 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 respond reasonably or responsibly to these and other major issues has reportedly created an impasse and forced IATSE to call a nationwide strike authorization vote on October 1, 2021. A strike would drastically disrupt the industry, the economy, and the communities we represent. We are hopeful that both parties can negotiate in good faith and reach a consensus agreement, which requires that both parties continue to participate in the ongoing negotiations.
The strong partnership between workers and management in the entertainment industry has been essential to its success. It has also been key to the ability of all unions and employers to respond when faced with difficult issues affecting the industry, as evidenced by the unique COVID safety protocols that were agreed upon and implemented together in 2020. We urge to the AMPTP a Recognize the sacrifices made by workers in this industry, negotiate in good faith, and reach a fair contract to address core health and safety issues, reasonable work hours, and fair pay.
Behind every great movie and TV show is a hardworking team. Let’s work together to keep this industry thriving and ensure fair treatment for our skilled craftsmen and team.
DC. Melissa Patack, Vice President of State Government Affairs, Motion Picture Association
California IATSE Council