LOS ANGELES (AP) — Film industry crew members have narrowly voted to approve a pair of contracts with Hollywood producers after a standoff that came within days of a strike that would have halted productions across the U.S., union leaders said Monday.

The agreements passed 56% to 44% among delegates from the 36 local unions of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees in the voting system that resembles the U.S. Electoral College.

But in the popular vote, 50.3% said yes and 49.7% no to the two contracts combined of the 45,000 members who cast a ballot in voting held from Friday through Sunday. And the larger of the two contracts, which primarily covers film and TV production on the West Coast, actually lost the popular vote by a narrow margin.

The razor-thin totals stood in contrast to the last vote from union members, in which 98% approved giving union leaders the authority to call a strike.

“We were very fired up, that really gassed up the membership, we were ready to strike,” said Brandy Tannahill, who works as a grip setting up lighting equipment on sets.

A victorious “no” vote would have reopened negotiations and brought back the possibility of a work stoppage.

There was relief among many members when the three-year deal was reached with producers on Oct. 16, two days before a strike deadline.

But many others were disillusioned with the details, saying the contracts didn't go far enough to address issues like long workdays that may lack breaks or lunch, and the debilitating fatigue it causes.

The agreements include across-the board wage increases and increased compensation paid by streaming services, who had long been allowed lower pay rates, union leaders said.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents Hollywood studios and other production entities, said in a statement that "throughout the negotiations, IATSE leadership advocated changes to improved quality of life" and the "agreements meaningfully reflect the industry’s endorsement of those priorities and keep everyone working.”

IATSE represents about 150,000 behind-the-scenes workers, including stagehands, cinematographers, costumers and others employed in all forms of entertainment, from movies and TV to theater, concerts, trade shows and broadcasting.

Recommended for you