IATSE receives pledge of solidarity from global unions

“Your fight is our fight,” entertainment unions around the world told IATSE, pledging their support for the group as it begins talks with Hollywood producers over a new master agreement. Initial negotiations began last week and a return to negotiations with AMPTP is scheduled for March 18. The current contract expires on July 31.

The unions speaking out today are affiliates of the UNI Global Union and represent 500,000 workers in 140 unions and guilds in the media, entertainment and arts sectors worldwide. IATSE is also a member of the UNI Global Union.

In a statement, UNI’s executive committee for media, entertainment and the arts said in part: “Member unions around the world stand in solidarity with our US colleagues as they begin their negotiations for fair pay, decent working conditions and the protection of workers’ rights in the digital environment, including the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI). We support your requests and urge AMPTP to engage with you in a meaningful way to reach a fair contract. Your fight is our fight. Ensuring fair pay, protecting the rights and dignity of our members in the workplace is part of the common agenda of all entertainment unions in the UNI Global Union, often facing the same global companies.” (See below for the full statement.)

The show of support is not unlike how overseas guilds stood shoulder to shoulder with their US counterparts during the writers’ strike last year.

Christy Hoffman, UNI Global Union General Secretary, noted: “What happens in Hollywood reverberates throughout the entertainment industry and these negotiations will affect behind-the-scenes workers around the world. IATSE can begin bargaining with AMPTP knowing it has the support of the global trade union movement and the support of half a million workers in the industry. Last year, we rallied behind the writers – who are also our members – as they triumphed, and now we’re ready to mobilize, cheer and stand with our IATSE brothers and sisters as they carry the banner of the production team globally.”

Philippa Childs, head of British entertainment union Bectu and a member of UNI’s World Executive Council, said: “We face the same companies and share the same problems in an industry that is increasingly globalised. Major American studios and streamers create role models and bear a huge responsibility for the well-being of the global entertainment industry workforce. They should do better. IATSE are fighting for humane working arrangements that allow the behind-the-scenes team a life outside of work – and that’s something all entertainment workers in every country deserve.”

Miguel Paniagua, Secretary General of the Sindicato Único de Trabajadores del Espectáculo, SUTEP (Argentina) and Regional President for UNI’s Media, Entertainment and Arts Sector in the Americas, added: “The collaboration between our unions is important and strong. We work together to raise standards and learn from each other and have common goals to make productions safer, more inclusive and free from violence and discrimination. We hope these negotiations will send a strong signal to the Americas region that good faith negotiations between manufacturers and unions are the foundation for a fair and sustainable industry.”

Here is the full statement of solidarity:

The global entertainment union community stands behind IATSE and its sister UNions

The UNI Global Union Media, Entertainment and Arts Sector Executive Committee, on behalf of the 140 unions making up a collective force of 500,000 workers in many trades of the entertainment industry worldwide, expresses its strong solidarity with our colleagues in the International Alliance of the Theater Stage Employees (IATSE) and its sister unions in the United States in support of their efforts to negotiate a fair deal for AMPTP workers.

Behind-the-scenes workers are the backbone of the US entertainment industry, contributing tirelessly to the creation and execution of compelling productions that enrich the lives of audiences worldwide. IATSE is a driving force of international trade union cooperation and solidarity to raise standards and conditions for workers everywhere.

Together we fight for the recognition of trade union rights and the expansion of collective bargaining in all industries and countries for the sustainable development of the industry and workers’ careers and for a fair, inclusive and safe working environment.

Member unions around the world stand in solidarity with our US colleagues as they begin their negotiations for fair pay, decent working conditions and protection of workers’ rights in the digital environment, including the use of generative artificial intelligence (AI).

We support your requests and urge AMPTP to engage with you in a meaningful way to reach a fair contract.

Your fight is our fight. Ensuring fair pay, protecting the rights and dignity of our members in the workplace is part of the common agenda of all entertainment unions in the UNI Global Union, often facing the same global companies.

Workers in our industries have been squeezed during the ongoing transformation to the streaming model. Unions are grappling with the higher work pressures, unsustainable remuneration patterns and uncertain working hours and deadlines that are common features of manufacturing in the global economy.

We are united in recognizing the profound impact generative AI will have on the future of our industry. As technological advances continue to change the entertainment landscape, unions have a responsibility to ensure that the implementation of generative AI is based on a human-centered approach guided by the principles of fairness and equity.

To this end, we demand the inclusion of provisions in negotiations everywhere that guarantee workers’ rights to consent, meaningful participation and full transparency in the development and deployment of generative AI technologies. Fair compensation mechanisms must be established to ensure that the benefits arising from AI innovation are shared fairly with workers.

We stand shoulder to shoulder with IATSE as they defend the rights and dignity of entertainment workers.

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