As the ongoing writers’ strike continues to halt film and television productions, major crew union IATSE is contributing $2 million in funds to help members who are taking a financial hit.
The union’s general board of directors has unanimously approved that this contribution will be split between three leading industry charities: the Motion Picture & Television Fund, the Entertainment Community Fund and the Actors Fund of Canada. IATSE announced this on Thursday. The donations are specifically for IATSE members in need; the union with more than 168,000 members represents a wide variety of crew members, from grips to sound editors to clients.
“For those struggling, you are not alone, our Alliance’s 170,000 relatives are with you and help is available,” IATSE International President Matt Loeb said in a statement. “We trust these industry-proven charities to deliver this much-needed support directly to IATSE members who need it most, and we will continue to explore all avenues to provide our members with the help they need as they weather the storm during the writers’ strike.”
Multiple charitable foundations and agencies have sprung into action since the writers’ strike began on May 2. The Entertainment Community Fund has so far raised more than $2 million to support non-writers during the strike, while the nonprofit Humanitas has launched a Groceries for Writers initiative and The Inevitable Foundation has established an emergency fund for disabled writers.
As of Wednesday, Pay Up Hollywood had relaunched its fund to provide financial assistance to support staff, originally created to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 work stoppages, to help assistants and coordinators affected by the strike.
IATSE took a similar step early in the COVID-19 pandemic, when it excluded $2.5 million in donations to what was then the Actors Fund (now the Entertainment Community Fund), the Motion Picture and Television Fund, and the Actors Fund of Canada) for members whose work was cut short or cancelled.
The Writers Guild of America and studios and streamers have not returned to the negotiating table since the strike began in early May. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents entertainment employers in labor negotiations, is currently in talks with SAG-AFTRA regarding its own contract, which expires on June 30.