IATSE behind-the-camera workers make movies and TV shows happen. They may soon authorize a strike

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For years, film workers have faced long hours with short turnaround times. Now IATSE, the union that represents those with behind-the-camera jobs, is threatening to go on strike. Photo by gnepphoto / Shutterstock

For the first time in decades, the crew members who make movies and TV shows are threatening to strike. Members of IATSE — the union that covers cinematographers, editors, costumers and many more behind-the-camera jobs — say they’ve had enough of low wages and long hours without sufficient breaks. 

“I have actually been required to leave a funeral so that I could get on my computer and start addressing a draft that needed to be published that day,” says script coordinator and IATSE member Shawn Waugh. “Feeling like your entire life is under the thumb of production and the needs of a show is very tiring and harmful.”

Waugh tells KCRW he will vote to authorize a historic strike if the unions and the studios can’t come to terms. 

These calls for change are not new — The Business re-airs part of a conversation it had seven years ago with Oscar-winning cinematographer and activist Haskell Wexler, who fought for more reasonable work hours up until his death at age 93 in 2015. 



Kim Masters


Kaitlin Parker