Possible film crew strike could stall Georgia’s busy film industry

ATLANTA — One of the largest industries in the state of Georgia may be facing a major setback due to the looming possibility of a strike by the production workers who make it tick.

The union which represents film crews in the state and in other states where film and television productions happen are in the midst of labor negotiations right now. Depending on how those negotiations play out, Georgia’s $4 billion film industry could potentially go dark.

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The dispute involves the International Alliance of Stage and Theater Employees (IATSE) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The IATSE represents the crews who work on productions and the dispute is largely over the rate of pay.

According to published reports, the IATSE is seeking a vote to authorize a strike as early as October 1 even as they continue negotiating for better wages, hours and working conditions with the Alliance. The vote does not mean a strike will actually happen, but it gives the union the ability to do it if they choose.

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Channel 2 Action News anchor Justin Wilfon spoke to actress Toynal Davis who has worked on several Atlanta based productions. Davis spoke about the long hours and challenging work conditions film crews go through to get productions finished.

“They’re appreciated. They are need and underrated,” Davis said. “They were there working in the morning. While I shot and ate and went to bed, I woke up and they were still working.”

Davis believes that’s an example of why film crews are threatening to strike.

“It’s my understanding it’s around compensation, it’s around hours of work,” Davis said.

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Wilfon also spoke to State Representative Derrick Jackson. Jackson is a member of the Georgia Entertainment Caucus. Jackson said a strike could potentially shut down production of all 53 films and television shows currently in production around the state and could leave thousands out of work.

“It’s my hope and prayer that both the companies and the employees come together, with some sort of compensation package,” Jackson said.

Wilfon reached out to the IATSE for comment. They did not respond, but they said in a tweet that “We are fighting to ensure that the most powerful media corporations on the planet treat the film and tv workers who produce their content with basic human dignity.

Wilfon also got a statement from the agency representing the studios. They said they “remain committed to reaching an agreement”. But they also accused the union of “elevating tensions” during the negotiations.