ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s three weeks into a nationwide writers’ strike. Now, New Mexico productions are starting to feel the effects with a high-profile TV series forced to halt production Monday.
“I think it affects not just the writers and film workers, but anybody who has to work for a living,” said the IATSE Local 480 President Rebecca Stair.
IATSE Local 480 represents film technicians. Stair spoke as an individual and not on behalf of the union. She said film industry workers picketed outside the set of “Duster” in Albuquerque Monday morning.
“The goal of any picketing action is to get the producers to come back to the table and resume negotiations. That’s really their goal, and I support them in that goal,” said Stair.
Stair added even though it’s the writers who are striking, the issues at stake affect the whole industry.
Stair mentioned, “Essentially, they are striking for a lot of the same things that affect many of us in the film industry, which is fair pay for our work and fair pay from different studio to studio.”
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) website reads they are on strike because studios have taken advantage of the transition to streaming to underpay writers. Even though there are only a small number of writers working in New Mexico, Stair said other industry workers, including members of the union she heads, created a picket line and stood in solidarity with WGA. Members of WGA across the country have been on strike since early May.
According to Stair, a large majority of the “Duster” film crew chose not to cross the picket line, ultimately stopping production for the day.
“Hopefully, if the writers are successful, it will result in fair pay for them and then also fairer pay for the New Mexicans who work in the film industry as well,” said Stair.
The Albuquerque Film Office said production on the series was suspended Monday, and there is no word on how long production will be paused.