EXCLUSIVE: Crystal Hopkins has resigned as president of IATSE Local 871, in part because of her dissatisfaction with IATSE’s new film and TV contract. Marisa Shipley, the local’s current vice president, will be the local’s next president, running unopposed to succeed Hopkins in the local’s ongoing election.
Hopkins, who has been one of the leaders of the movement to secure better pay for Hollywood’s historically female crafts, resigned last week, shortly before IATSE’s new film and TV contract was ratified.
The new contract contains outsized pay raises for the local’s members, many of whom had been working for barely above minimum wage. Under the new deal, the local’s script coordinators, assistant production office coordinators, art department coordinators and writers’ room assistants will see their wages increase to $23.50 an hour, retroactive to August 1, 2021; to $24.50 in the second year of the pact; and to $26 in the third year.
“My resignation from Local 871 was driven primarily by my personal and family needs,” Hopkins told Deadline in a statement. “Ancillary to that, I also was not the proper person to lead 871 through a ratification of the new contract. When we began negotiating in May, the priorities were clear, and we were united in them. The solidarity and unity never wavered. However, by the time October rolled around and we still did not have a deal, the overwhelming and historic response of the membership for the strike authorization made clear to me that the priorities we were addressing were no longer adequate for the membership.
Hopkins also told Deadline:
“In the continued negotiations, which make no mistake, took giant steps forward when compared to the history of our contracts, the leadership, myself included, kept our eyes on the targets we had been aiming for in May. But the membership had erected and created new targets – targets that I agree with. And on a very basic level of what a union stands for, should have been given more time and consideration. I could not in good conscience lead the membership of 871 through a ratification of this agreement.
“Although 871 arguably stood to gain the most through the lens of immediately better conditions, and therefore also the most to lose, my personal principles of what unionism and solidarity mean, would not allow me to claim this agreement as a victory when the voices of so many union members were crying out that they needed more, and this agreement wasn’t fixing the problems they were willing to strike to fix.
“Similarly, the membership of Local 871 did not deserve to receive any negative impacts from the consideration of my personal opinions and beliefs. When faced with the combination of these things, and knowing that 871 would be led by our current Vice President in a few short weeks anyway, I felt it was best for my health, and the health of the Local and its members, that I step away from the seat. I will never stop fighting for the membership of IATSE and what they need. This is a temporary measure for me to re-assess the most healthy and productive way to move forward.”