TV and film crew union sets strike date for Oct. 18

A strike would shut down most TV and film production in Georgia.
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, left, and Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, in "The Walking Dead." (Jace Downs/AMC/TNS)

Credit: TNS

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Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, left, and Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, in "The Walking Dead." (Jace Downs/AMC/TNS)

Credit: TNS

The primary union representing most TV and film crews said it will conduct a strike Monday, Oct. 18, if it can’t reach a deal with show producers, which would shut down most production in Georgia.

The two sides are negotiating a new contract but are struggling to find common ground over issues such as rest periods, meal breaks and better pay for working on streaming service shows.

“The pace of bargaining doesn’t reflect any sense of urgency,” said Matthew Loeb, president of The International Alliance of Theatrical State Employees (IATSE) in a press release Wednesday. “Without an end date, we could keep talking forever. Our members deserve to have their basic needs addressed now.”

Crew members have complained about long hours, foregone meals and pay equity for those working on what a decade ago was considered “new media” but is now mainstream regarding shows on services like Netflix, HBO Max and Disney+. Producers have been under increased pressure to pump out new content, especially for these streaming services, a problem exacerbated by the pandemic, which shut down production for several months last year.

The strike doesn’t cover every single production. The union has separate agreements representing low-budget films, commercials and certain cable shows from networks such as HBO, Starz and Showtime, which will still be able to shoot.

But it would impact dozens of shows and films shooting now in Georgia such as AMC’s horror drama “The Walking Dead,” Fox’s medical show “The Resident,” ABC’s reboot “The Wonder Years,” Netflix’s “Cobra Kai,” big-budget film “Creed III” with Michael B. Jordan and HBO Max miniseries “The Staircase” starring Colin Firth.

IATSE represents 60,000 members, with 6,000 in Georgia, and covers everyone from hairstylists to wardrobe attendants to animators. Other unions representing the directors, actors and writers support IATSE’s strike and would join them on the sidelines.

Generous tax credits in 2008 for TV and film producers shepherded in a renaissance in shows and movies in the state of Georgia over the past 13 years, bringing in $4 billion in direct spending in the fiscal year ending June 30, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. This strike would leave thousands of people in the state without work.

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