Keep your eyes on the conflict brewing between major studios and the labor unions representing professionals across the core trades that are responsible for most Hollywood film production. The International Association for Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) is the largest union in the industry, with over 60,000 members. Last week, union leadership called on their members to vote to authorize a strike, protesting the “workaholic” practices that the industry forces on their members.
If members approve the vote and an actual strike ensues, it would be the largest labor action since the writers’ strike in 2007, which resulted in massive delays in both film and television production. Studios are already facing an uphill battle to work through a backlog of production because of delays due to COVID shutdowns. A new disruption in the production pipeline, will lead to a shortage of new film releases, creating more headaches for exhibition. While a strike is not yet certain and much of the negotiation remains ahead, at this point industry experts predict that it is “more likely than not”.