Pic prod’n slowdown cracks craft workers

All areas affected, IATSE prexy sez

HOLLYWOOD — Hollywood’s de facto strike on features has dramatically slowed work by craft union members in the last 30 days, with some units seeing employment cut by as much as 50%.

Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees prexy Thomas Short said, “This work slowdown is affecting all areas, including grips, prop makers, camera operators, makeup and hair, electricians and painters.”

The union, which polled members nationwide, also noted that employment opportunities are expected to keep dropping. Short said the decline had been anticipated, adding that the union is concerned that the slowdown may prevent members from logging enough hours to meet eligibility requirements for pension, health and welfare benefits.

“This will place an economic burden on the members and their families,” Short said.

Motion Picture Costumers Local 705 and Makeup & Hair Local 706 have seen 50% declines, while Studio Arts Crafts Persons Local 790 has fallen 40% and Set Painters and Sign Writers Local 729 is down 30%. The IATSE has about 100,000 members.

Film activity began tapering off in May to avoid bumping up against the June 30 expiration of the film-TV contract for the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists. Although last month’s Writers Guild settlement brightened prospects for a similar result in the SAG/AFTRA talks, producers are waiting until the actors reach a deal before starting in on film production again.

Short, who criticized the Writers Guild over some of its creative rights proposals earlier this year, made no comment about the actors’ proposal.

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