‘A slow grind’: Ongoing negotiations averting film strike, so far

Film crew members overwhelmingly agree to go on strike if work conditions do not improve. (Port City Daily photo/Alexandria Williams)

WILMINGTON –– About a week after film crew members voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, negotiations that could potentially prevent that action are continuing at a slow pace.

“We are currently still in bargaining (pacific time zone) and expect it to be a slow grind through the weekend,” Darla McGlamery, business agent at IATSE Local 491 in Wilmington, wrote in a text to Port City Daily around noon Friday. “We remain hopeful, but far apart on where we believe we need to be at this juncture.”

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the union behind 60,000 film crew members nationwide, is negotiating its standards agreements with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the representative of major TV and film companies. Updated iterations of the contracts were at a standstill after the union fought back on extreme hours, limited breaks and unfavorable wages, but leaders resumed talks this week.


Variety reported Thursday that AMPTP is agreeing to some of IATSE’s demands, including a 10-hour turnaround, which would guarantee workers at least 10-hour breaks between shifts. Some progress was made on other asks: longer weekend turnarounds, compensation for when crews miss meal breaks, and increased wages on streaming productions, which have received “discounts” compared to traditional projects since their infancy.

If the two parties can’t finalize an agreement, film workers may go on strike. The results from last weekend’s vote give the union president power to call such an act. Filming would completely pause across the country, from Hollywood to Wilmington. If a strike is prolonged, networks could run out of new content, and film workers may move on to other careers, creating a deficit in the industry.

RELATED: Wilmington film crews have a decision to make Friday. It could halt productions nationwide

READ MORE: IATSE votes almost unanimously to strike if negotiations don’t go their way, could put film projects in limbo


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