The Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) is preparing to go on strike starting tonight at midnight if a deal between the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers cannot be reached. The current contract expired on June 30th, though both sides have agreed to extend the deadline to July 12th at midnight PT, and there has been no meaningful progress toward reaching an agreement. There is still hope a second extension can be reached.
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.
Now it is being reported that both sides have agreed on federal mediation but not to extend the deadline of the strike at this time, according to a report from Gizmodo.
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.
One area of concern is how to deal with the San Diego Comic-Con as a number of actors have previous arrangements to participate in panels. If the union goes forward with a strike, members would no longer promote their television series and films, appear in magazines, or appear on talk shows. Basically, all productions would halt during a strike until an acceptable new contract is drafted, which has already slowed down significantly due to the ongoing writers’ strike.
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.