October 1, 2021
Carol Lombardini, President
Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers
15301 Ventura Blvd, Building E
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Dear Ms. Lombardini,
New York State and the Film and Television industry’s public/private partnership is directly responsible for bringing New York to its second golden age of film and television production. Together we have created tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity. We are all proud of the incredible productions made in New York, a testament to the success of the State’s investment to revive this industry.
On behalf of our constituents, who work in, rely upon, and benefit from the work in this industry, we urge you to negotiate fair successor contracts with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (“IATSE”). It is our understanding that the key issues concern worker safety and basic human necessities. We are unified in our belief in the importance of living wages, sustainable benefits, and reasonable rest periods between shifts and during the workday. However, many of the workers on productions have suffered under onerous labor practices. Specifically, it is commonplace for workers to begin the week with a workday in excess of twelve or more hours, oftentimes without a break for meals, followed by a ten hour rest break and then back to work for another twelve hour or more workday. Frankly, this workflow is outrageous, and harmful to the health and safety of the worker. It is essential that these practices be reformed, as you have agreed to in Canada, Europe, and under productions covered by other contracts in the U.S. as well.
Recently, we heard a story of an IATSE worker in New York who worked a typical week of long hours, with work calls changing from early morning on Monday to a night call overlapping from Friday to Saturday morning. On the last day of the workweek this worker fell asleep at the wheel while on their way home, totaling their vehicle, while miraculously walking away unharmed. Other workers have not been as fortunate, yet these stories are all too typical and illustrate exactly the problem with the current production schedule.
AMPTP’s unwillingness to reasonably or responsibly respond to these and other important issues has reportedly created a deadlock and compelled IATSE to call a nationwide strike authorization vote today October 1, 2021. A strike would dramatically disrupt the industry, the economy, and the communities we represent. We are hopeful that both sides will negotiate in good faith and reach a consensus agreement, which necessitates the parties continuing to participate in ongoing negotiations.
The strong labor-management partnership in the entertainment industry has been essential to its success. It has also been key to the ability of all the unions and employers to respond when faced with difficult issues that impact the industry as evidenced by the unique COVID safety protocols that were jointly agreed to and put in place in 2020. We urge the AMPTP to recognize the sacrifices made by workers in this industry, to negotiate in good faith, and to reach a fair contract to address the core issues of health and safety, reasonable work hours, and fair pay.
Behind every great film and television show is a hard-working crew. Let’s work together to keep this industry thriving and ensure fair treatment for our skilled craftspeople and crew.
NYS Senator, District 13