The Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) today announced that after their contract expired last night at midnight PT they have officially gone on strike. This means actors have joined the writers on strike.
SAG-AFTRA members voted in favor of striking last month, and since then, hundreds of actors signed a letter stating they are prepared to keep their word if an acceptable deal is not reached.
Both sides have reportedly agreed on federal mediation but not to extend the deadline of the strike. For now, mediation may help this but it won’t prevent a strike.
In a statement on their website, SAG-AFTRA condemned the tactics used by the studios.
“We will not be distracted from negotiating in good faith to secure a fair and just deal by the expiration of our agreement. We are committed to the negotiating process and will explore and exhaust every possible opportunity to make a deal, however we are not confident that the employers have any intention of bargaining toward an agreement.”
“Furthermore, we condemn the tactic outlined in today’s inaccurate Variety piece naming the CEOs of several entertainment conglomerates as the force behind the request for mediation; information that was leaked to the press by the CEOs and their ‘anonymous sources’ before our negotiators were even told of the request for mediation. The AMPTP has abused our trust and damaged the respect we have for them in this process. We will not be manipulated by this cynical ploy to engineer an extension when the companies have had more than enough time to make a fair deal.”
For now, both sides are still talking, but a deadline is coming fast for both sides to work something out to avoid a strike. At issue here in big part, is some of the same concerns the writers have. First the use of AI in productions and second higher pay from streaming service revenue.
The SAG-AFTRA is seeking higher pay along with more contributions to pension and healthcare funds. The union also wants studios to recalculate the residuals members are paid through streaming service revenue. In addition to altering the self-tape audition process, union members also want safeguards put in place regarding the use of AI in production.
Like with the writer’s strike right now studios and actors seem very far apart on their demands. If any deal is reached both sides will likely need to come to the middle and offer something to agree on a deal.