IATSE union warns that another Hollywood strike could be looming

Hollywood sign WGA writers strike negotiations
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Although another Hollywood shutdown seems unthinkable, the teamsters’ union appears bullish about a new strike if its demands aren’t met.

It will take a long time before the damage caused by last year’s Hollywood strikes is healed.

Cinemas are bracing themselves for an incredibly tough year whilst here in the UK, and crews are still suffering from the extended fallout of the months-long shutdown. At this point, another Hollywood shutdown is simply unthinkable but IATSE, the union of teamsters who keep the US film industry up and running, has warned its members to brace themselves for strike action if a deal with studios isn’t met when its current contract comes to an end this summer.

At a rally held in Encino over the weekend, Sean O’Brien, the president of the International Brotherhood of the Teamsters, told the 2000 assembled members of the trade union that they should be prepared to withhold their labour if their demands were not met.

“We are not afraid to strike,” O’Brien said. “If these greedy corporations – whether it’s Amazon, Netflix, Sony… Disney – if they choose not to reward our members, they are putting themselves on strike. We will put them on their back, on their knees, begging for mercy.”

It’s the kind of provocative language that nobody really wants to hear but if last year’s strikes proved anything, it’s that all too often, inflammatory rhetoric and strike action is often the only language that the studios understand.

With that said, the teamsters union president pushed the provocative statements into hostile territory, adding: “we have a message for the white collar crime syndicates known as the studios,” he said. “When you (we believe he said ‘cluck’ at this point, but couldn’t quite here) with the Teamsters, or any other union, it’s a full contact sport. Put your helmets on and buckle your chin straps.”


O’Brien also had something to say about AI as well, a sticking point in the dealmaking when both actors and writers went to the negotiating table.

On that front, O’Brien stated “those advantages need to take the pressure off our jobs, so we can enjoy our families and live these lives, and not have to work 80-hour weeks”,” Loeb said. “If that efficiency comes, it needs to come to us and our jobs. And we will use that to do our jobs better. But we want some of the spoils of artificial intelligence.”.”

The general consensus around Hollywood is that another strike won’t happen with the feeling being that after a prolonged shutdown that lasted many months last year, the appetite isn’t there on either side to strike and that both sides will find a way to get a deal done. Still though, IATSE are certainly talking the talk… let’s just hope that it doesn’t come to the point where the union has to – cliche alert – walk the walk. Negotiations are set to begin on Monday ahead of an end of July deadline.


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