SAG-AFTRA has announced that it is on strike against the film and TV companies. The strike is set to begin tonight one minute past midnight, with picketing at all the major studios. SAG-AFTRA’s national board voted unanimously this morning to launch the guild’s first strike against the film and television industry since 1980. This is only the second time in Hollywood history that actors have joined writers on the picket lines.
According to Deadline, negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers broke off late Wednesday night with no agreement on terms for a new contract. The guild’s negotiating committee then unanimously recommended that the board approve a strike. On June 5, the guild’s members voted 98% in favor of authorizing a strike if a fair deal couldn’t be achieved.
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, chief negotiator of SAG-AFTRA, said during a press conference, “Union members should withhold their labor until a fair contract can be achieved,” he told the room. “They have left us with no alternative.”
“We are being victimized by a very greedy enterprise,” SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher said during Thursday’s press conference. “At some point you have to say ‘No, we’re not going to take this anymore. You people are crazy. What are you doing? Why are you doing this?’”
The AMPTP issued a statement early this morning saying that “We are deeply disappointed that SAG-AFTRA has decided to walk away from negotiations. This is the Union’s choice, not ours. In doing so, it has dismissed our offer of historic pay and residual increases, substantially higher caps on pension and health contributions, audition protections, shortened series option periods, a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors’ digital likenesses, and more. Rather than continuing to negotiate, SAG-AFTRA has put us on a course that will deepen the financial hardship for thousands who depend on the industry for their livelihoods.”
The strike will shut down films and scripted TV shows that employ SAG-AFTRA members not just in the United States, but around the world. Soap operas, which fall under a separate contract, are exempted. Under the guild’s Global Rule One, which states that “No member shall render any services or make an agreement to perform services for any employer who has not executed a basic minimum agreement with the union, which is in full force and effect, in any jurisdiction in which there is a SAG-AFTRA national collective bargaining agreement in place. This provision applies worldwide.”