Although most Americans may not be too familiar with IATSE (the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada), the works its members do, from lighting in motion pictures to broadcasting sports events, is central to American culture. IATSE is a labor union consisting of multiple locals and divisions, representing tens of thousands of workers. The COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down nearly every Hollywood production, proved the necessity of worker negotiations and rights. Many craftspeople lost their jobs or were put in unsafe conditions. Now, as more and more members return to work, they’re fighting for better set environments than pre-pandemic.
The film Nomadland reveals very real problems concerning how policymakers and corporations exploit seasonal workers, specifically elderly gig economy employees. Although temporary employment may be attractive for companies such as Amazon, policy that targets a reduction in elderly poverty would help prevent aging Americans from converting to a tumultuous nomadic lifestyle, where they face low salaries and poor treatment.
It looks like the United States just became a third wheel. Recent economic data from the E.U.’s statistical office shows that China is now the European Union’s biggest trading partner of goods, knocking the U.S. from its prime spot. While the European Union has been China’s biggest importer for some time, the relationship only became mutual during the pandemic, likely due to the increase in demand for Chinese medical products in the E.U. In turn, demand for European goods in China also grew.
Millions of Americans lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but one key demographic may remain home even after the quarantine ends: women. Since the start of the pandemic, women have been leaving at a rate 4 times greater than their male counterparts. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, 617,000 women left the workforce in September 2020, compared to 78,000 men. This great disparity isn’t just a consequence of gender inequality in the workplace. It’s a result of the forced division of labor between men and women in nuclear families, pressuring women with children and other family obligations to prioritize the needs of others over their own professional fulfillment.