The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, a union that represents TV and movie workers, currently allows smaller streaming companies to pay workers at a discounted rate.
Under the current contract, high-budget productions intended for streaming can offer lower rates to workers if the streaming service has less than 20 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada, which is determined on July 1 every year. Apple told IATSE that it had less than 20 million subscribers, a union spokesman said.
The current contract provides less strict labor terms for streaming services because profitability is "presently uncertain". Union leaders say streaming is no longer a new form of media and that streaming productions can now have bigger budgets than traditional media productions. They are trying to negotiate a new contract.
"Workers on certain 'new media' streaming projects get paid less, even on productions with budgets that rival or exceed those of traditionally released blockbusters."
The IATSE is gearing up for a strike and a ballot authorizing the measure will be sent out to members on October 1.
Other concerns the union wants addressed include:
● Excessively unsafe and harmful working hours.
● Unlivable wages for the lowest paid crafts.
● Consistent failure to provide reasonable rest during meal breaks, between workdays, and on weekends.
"It is incomprehensible that the AMPTP, an ensemble that includes media mega-corporations collectively worth trillions of dollars, claims it cannot provide behind-the-scenes crews with basic human necessities like adequate sleep, meal breaks, and living wages. Worse, management does not appear to even recognize our core issues as problems that exist in the first place."
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