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Photo: Bill Nation/Sygma via Getty Images

Hollywood production workers voted to authorize a nationwide strike in a bid for better working conditions and pay, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) announced Monday.

Why it matters: The vote comes after union talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) arrived at a standstill, with the IATSE rejecting the initial offer.

  • About 90% of the organization's 60,000 members participated in the vote, with 98% of them in support of strike authorization, president Matthew Loeb said in a statement.
  • The move doesn't trigger a strike but authorizes Loeb to call one at any time. A strike could be avoided if the AMPTP meets the union's demands for improved working conditions and pay, IATSE said.
  • The action marks the first time the union has authorized a nationwide strike in its 128-year history.

What they're saying: "The members have spoken loud and clear," Loeb said. "This vote is about the quality of life as well as the health and safety of those who work in the film and television industry."

  • "Our people have basic human needs like time for meal breaks, adequate sleep, and a weekend," he added.
  • “The AMPTP remains committed to reaching an agreement that will keep the industry working," AMPTP spokesperson Jarryd Gonzales said in a statement on Monday.
  • "We deeply value our IATSE crew members and are committed to working with them to avoid shutting down the industry at such a pivotal time, particularly since the industry is still recovering from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic."

Go deeper

SEPTA unveils service interruption plan in case of strike

SEPTA buses sit idle at the transit agency's Frankford Transportation Center in 2005. Photo: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

SEPTA has unveiled its service interruption plan in the event of a strike should ongoing union contract negotiations fall flat.

Why it matters: If SEPTA workers represented by Transport Workers Union Local 234 (TWU) walk off the job, thousands of residents would be without reliable service to get where they need to go.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.

3 hours ago - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive Care Unit in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on May 27, 2021. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.