IATSE and AFI settle labor dispute


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The AFI Fest won’t have to worry about a ‘Norma Rae’ scene playing out in Hollywood.

An ugly labor dispute between the union representing Hollywood’s below-the-line workforce and the American Film Institute has been settled.

Last week, Matt Loeb, president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, issued an unusually blunt denunciation of AFI, accusing the nonprofit group’s management of using scare tactics to discourage concession workers at its Silver Theater and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Maryland from joining the union, which represents 110,000 workers in the film and theater industry.


The dispute threatened to to disrupt the AFI Fest in Los Angeles this week when Loeb called for a boycott of all AFI events, although he stopped short of calling for an actual work stoppage by the IATSE concession workers at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre where AFI films are screened.

But the spat ended on Wednesday when the union announced that it had negotiated an agreement with AFI to represent the Maryland theater workers. The agreement provided ‘significant wage, benefit and condition improvements,’ according to a statement from the guild, which touted how Loeb had ‘put pressure on the company by informing the public of the dispute.’

The union added cryptically, that ‘President Loeb was in Los Angeles and had planned to be present for any necessary activities.’

-Richard Verrier