Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

NM film industry prepares for Monday strike

Michael Mando as Nacho Varga and Steven Bauer as Don Eladio in a scene from the fifth season of “Better Call Saul”. A union strike will affect productions in New Mexico if the matter is not resolved by Monday. (Greg Lewis / AMC / Sony Pictures Television)

Copyright © 2021

The show can’t go on.

Matthew Loeb, international president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, announced on Wednesday that unless an agreement is reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, over 60,000 union members will go on a nationwide strike on Monday.

The strike would affect thousands of New Mexicans working in and with the film and television industries, including three unions – locals 480, 600 and 800 – who operate in the state.

“This will affect the approximately 2,000 IATSE workers in New Mexico Locals 480, 600 and 800 who are called to strike … unless an agreement is reached by then,” said Liz Pecos, president of IATSE Local 480.

“There are currently nine active productions in the state and the strike would affect seven … of those productions,” she said. “If the strike came, it would effectively halt production of most of the shows in New Mexico, which would further affect the thousands of other film and television workers in the state.”

These include the Directors Guild of America; the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists; Team driver; Production assistants; Background artist; “And the many vendors directly supported or endorsed by the New Mexico film industry,” said Pecos.

Loeb said the union will continue negotiating with producers this week in hopes of reaching an agreement that will address key issues such as rest periods, meal breaks and a “living wage” for those on the lower end of the pay scale.

“However, the pace of negotiations does not reflect any urgency,” said Loeb. “Without an end date, we could go on talking forever. Our members deserve to be attended to their basic needs now. “

Last week, IATSE members, who work in television and film production at 36 local IATSE unions across the country, voted to authorize the union’s international president to call a strike if negotiations fail to result in a new contract for 60,000 nationwide Film and television workers led.

The turnout was 90%, with 98.6% of those members voting in favor of a strike.

In New Mexico, IATSE Local 480 members had a 93% vote and 99% approval to approve a strike. According to the union’s website, Local 480 “represents professional film technicians who work ‘under the line’ on television and film productions in the state of New Mexico.”

The New Mexico film industry has had a record-breaking fiscal year, with $ 623 million in so-called “direct spending” to the state.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, the film industry broke the $ 525.5 million record set in fiscal 2019. In fiscal 2020, the film industry had direct spending of $ 386.8 million.

The film partnerships with NBCUniversal and Netflix can be traced back to the record year in New Mexico. Both companies have signed a 10-year commitment to bring film and television projects to the state.

For more than a decade, New Mexico’s Movie Incentive Package has been considered the gold standard in the industry. The package offers a 25-35% refundable tax credit on New Mexico goods and services, according to the Film Office website.

Last week, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said the state’s thriving film and television industry is being fueled by “the country’s best, hardest-working crew base.”

She said New Mexico is a “union-friendly state” and the state stands by workers who want to improve their conditions.

“The women and men of IATSE 480 make the magic happen; They’re the heart and soul of every production that is filmed here, and they’re one of the main reasons that productions and production companies that choose New Mexico keep coming back and choosing New Mexico, ”said Lujan Grisham in the explanation. “I am on the side of workers who seek dignity and security in their workplace and a living wage – the kind of wage that allows someone who works a full day, a week, or more to be happy and healthy To lead life. I support the members of IATSE 480 in their negotiations with the industry management and hope for a productive dialogue with a quick and satisfactory solution. “

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