The Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) and Writers Guild of America (WGA) are preparing to continue striking for the next six months. They anticipate the strike could continue into 2024. SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said during an appearance on The Today Show the guild is “in it to win it.”
Drescher said 86% of SAG union members earn less than $27,000 annually for their talents, reports Watchin UK. This income is below the minimum wage necessary to qualify for health benefits and is a driving force behind the guild’s picketing for fair contracts.
SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 members out of work until acceptable contracts are signed.
“These are hardworking people,” Drescher said. “They want the same things for their children that all of those CEOs that are making large fortunes want for their children.”
She calls out the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) for offering less compensation in contracts than members earned in 2020. Agreeing to these terms would lock in the low payments through 2026.
Drescher calls this offer “outrageous,” contracts need to update to new standards that support all union members.
“The business model changed, and they’re unwilling to change the contract,” Drescher said, referring to AMPTP’s last offer. SAG-AFTRA is seeing ample support from the industry, as is the Writers Guild of America (WGA).
The strikes halted productions throughout Hollywood. SAG-AFTRA said anyone crossing the picket lines would receive a lifetime ban from membership in the guilds. As a result, studios are scrambling to fill the upcoming fall season with reality-based programming and reruns. Talents won’t promote their projects until the negotiations are finalized, including influencers outside the guilds.
Both unions set up emergency foundations to aid writers and actors facing financial struggles during this time. The Entertainment Community Fund raises money to help support writers and creatives affected by the strike. JJ Abrams, Greg Berlanti, Adam McKay, Ryan Murphy, Shonda Rhimes, Mike Schur, John Wells, and others donated. Information on how to donate is available on the website.
Yesterday the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, a nonprofit aiding actors, raised over $15 million through the Emergency Financial Assitance Program in the last three weeks. George and Amal Clooney, Lucianna and Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hugh Jackman, Deborra-lee Furness, Dwayne Johnson, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck, Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Julia Roberts, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Meryl Streep, and Oprah Winfrey all made donations of $1 million or more.