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SAG-AFTRA Joins WGA in a Strike of Their Own

The actors’ guild goes on strike after contract expired past its second deadline.

SAG-AFTRA members on strike, Fran Drescher during press conference
SAG-AFTRA members voted to authorize a strike in June and officially went on strike on July 13, joining the WGA. (Photo Courtesy: Madison Kemeny)

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), a union of 160,000 members, announced its decision for a strike during a press conference on Sunday.

Negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) fell through after the contract expired for the second time on July 12. Almost every television and film actor joined the 11,000 members of the Writers Guild of America who went on strike in May.

Fran Drescher, president of SAG-AFTRA, delivered a passionate speech during the press conference during which she explains the importance of the strike as well as call out AMPTP for perceived greed and unwillingness to negotiate with the guild.

“What happens here is important because what’s happening to us is happening across all fields of labor, by means of when employers make Wall Street and greed their priority and they forget about the essential contributors that make the machine run,” Drescher said.

Drescher continues:

“We are the victims here. We are being victimized by a very greedy entity. I am shocked by the way the people that we have been in business with are treating us. I cannot believe, quite frankly, how far apart we are on things. How they plead poverty, that they’re losing money left and right when giving hundreds of millions of dollars to their CEOs.”

One of the major issues discussed throughout the negotiations was revenue generated by streaming shows. SAG-AFTRA demanded 2% of that revenue, which AMPTP didn’t want to accommodate. The union wanted increases to minimum rates – 11%, 4% and 4% over the course of three years. AMPTP was willing to offer only 5%, 4% and 3.5%.

Another major issue is artificial intelligence. SAG-AFTRA doesn’t want to ban AI, but they want any use of a performer’s likeness to create a new performance is done with compensation and consent. AMPTP says they agreed to that, but SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtress-Ireland said “the devil is in the details.”

“It is a very craftily put together proposal that a layperson looking at it might not see all the holes in it … There are huge gaps you can drive a Mack truck through.”

The slate of films and television shows began to slow when the writers started their strike, but the actor’s strike has caused many films to go completely dark – even those with completed scripts.

According to NBC News, these are some of the films that are confirmed to be halt due to the strike:

  • Gladiator 2 (Paramount Pictures)

  • Juror #2 (Warner Bros. Pictures)

  • Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two (Paramount Pictures)

  • Untitled F1 Drama (Apple TV+)

The SAG-AFTRA joining the writers in a strike marks the first time that both writers and actors simultaneously went on strike in 63 years.


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