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.