International Cinematographers Guild Unanimously Backs IATSE Strike

On Sunday, the national executive board of the International Cinematographers Guild unanimously agreed to support the IATSE nationwide strike vote, and encouraged its members to vote “Yes” in a new video. The action was taken at a meeting called by ICG national president John Lindley.

“The Elected Leaders of Local 600 spoke with one voice today on behalf of the thousands of their members who are unified in their resolve to get a fair deal from the employers who have walked away from the bargaining table,” Lindley said in a statement to Variety.

In a recent video released by the ICG, Rebecca Rhine, Associate National Executive Director told guild members: “The most important thing is that we send a powerful message to the employer, that we are united and that we have overwhelming support.”

In the video, the Cinematographers Guild urged its members to back the IATSE Strike authorization vote which is set for Oct. 1-3. Urging a “Yes” vote in support of strike authorization, Lindley said, “We still want to deal. That’s our goal. And the best way to get a deal is to have a strong strike authorization vote. We can avoid a strike if we have that.”

Rhine reminded members that the strike authorization “does not mean there’s a strike.” She said their goal was to get a contract that can be ratified and recommended.

Some 60,000 IATSE members could end up walking off the job, most of whom are based in Los Angeles. A strike, if it comes, would lead to a nationwide shutdown of TV and film production, because three of the locals — 600, 700 and 800 — are “national” unions. Local 600, the largest of the locals, represents 9,600 camera operators and cinematographers in the U.S. If they walk out, no one would be able to hold a camera on a set in the U.S.

The guild has also distributed a letter to the AMPTP with signatures including Checco Varese, James Laxton, Roger Deakins, Rodrigo Prieto and Emmanuel Chivo Lubezki.

Additionally, a joint union statement on behalf of the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, International Union of Teamsters and Writers Guild of America East said, “On behalf of our hundreds of thousands of members working across film and television, we stand in solidarity with our I.A.T.S.E. brothers, sisters and kin. The basic quality of life and living wage rights they’re fighting for in their negotiations are the issues that impact all of us who work on sets and productions. We stand with the I.A.T.S.E.”

The letter was signed by Lesli Linka Glatter, DGA president; Russell Hollander, DGA national executive director; Fran Drescher, SAG-AFTRA president; Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA national executive director; James P. Hoffa, International Brotherhood of Teamsters general president; Michael Winship, WGAE president; and Lowell Peterson, WGAE executive director.

IATSE negotiators are seeking greater accommodation for rest breaks and longer turnaround times between production hours. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers — which represents the major studios, including Netflix and Amazon — has refused to make concessions that would shorten the workday, which would significantly raise the studios’ costs.

If approved, IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb would have the power to call a strike if further negotiations fail to produce an agreement.

Watch the video below.

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