When local film crews need a fake machete, coffin or airplane toilet seat, they head to Westerman Prop in Worcester. Thousands of items ranging from the ordinary to the bizarre pack the five-floor warehouse.

The company, which began as Westerman Store and Restaurant Equipment, expanded into prop rentals after supplying restaurant equipment for the cafeteria scene in the 2010 Massachusetts-set film “Shutter Island."

Since the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television (SAG-AFTRA) went on strike in July, shutting down all film and television production, most of Westerman’s props are collecting dust.

It's not only Massachusetts actors and writers impacted by the strike. Thousands of local crew and vendors who earn a living in the film industry are struggling to find work.

While Dan Diaz, manager of Westerman, said he is thankful to have the restaurant supply business to rely on until the strike ends, many aren’t as lucky.

“I am trying to hire as many people who need work as I can for at least a couple of days a week so they can afford to buy groceries and eat,” said Diaz. “But I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to continue to do that.”

SAG-AFTRA is demanding better pay, higher residuals and regulations around the use of AI from Hollywood studios. Actors joined screenwriters from the Writers Guild of America (WGA), who went on strike in May with similar demands, on the picket lines. It has been more than 60 years since the two unions were on strike at the same time.

Dan Diaz's son, Nico, followed his father into the film industry after graduating from high school in 2013. Nico is contracted by production companies to work in the art department where he is responsible for set and production design.

Though he was busy last year and saved some money, inflation and the rising cost of living may force Nico Diaz to look for work outside the industry if the strike continues for much longer.

“There’s a lot of great people in the industry who will lose their homes and jobs if the strike goes on for a long time,” Nico said. “It’s a shame because the film industry here has been infused with new blood that has brought fresh perspective and diversity.”

In 2006, Massachusetts introduced a film tax incentive program to help movie studios offset production costs. Before then, many movies and series set in Boston were filmed elsewhere due to the state’s high production costs.

Since the program's introduction, more than 300 projects have been produced in the state, employing thousands of locals.

New England Studios consists of four studios, each 18,000 square feet. It opened in Devens in 2013 to meet the demands of the growing film industry. Hulu’s “Castle Rock,” Apple TV’s “Defending Jacob,” HBO’s "Dexter" and the film “The Tender Bar” all filmed scenes there.

New England Studios general manager Gary Crossen said film production is "dead in Massachusetts" since the strike. He said the last time all production stopped was during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re a successful business and we try to stay with our people as best as we can,” said Crossen. “During the pandemic we didn’t have to lay off any of our staff of eight. So far this year with the strike we haven’t had to lay anyone off. So far.”

But Crossen said thousands of others who use his studio are not getting a paycheck. Still, he remains hopeful.

“In the last five years, the demand for content in the streaming world has been incredible,” said Crossen. “There will be a need for fresh content once the strike is resolved.”

Alex Mader is a local who benefited from the production boom in Massachusetts. He began working as a set and prop decorator before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“The strike has killed a lot of the work out here,” said Mader. “I’m just getting by and racking up credit card debt waiting for the strike to end.”

Despite the financial impact on Mader, he supports the strike.

“The writers and actors are just asking to earn a living wage and keep AI out of the industry,” said Mader.