SAG-AFTRA Launches Historic Strike: What You Need to Know

actor strike sag-aftra strike


We may have been a little too forward reporting earlier but we can officially call it. What was inevitable is now here and SAG-AFTRA is officially on strike alongside the WGA, the first time in since 1960.


Contract negotiations between the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) reached an impasse, leading to the guild’s national board approving the launch of a strike. This strike will be the first by actors in the film and television industry since 1980 and the first time actors and writers have gone on strike simultaneously since 1960. The strike is scheduled to begin with picketing on Friday morning.

The negotiations, which lasted over four weeks, failed to result in a fair deal on key issues deemed essential by SAG-AFTRA members. The AMPTP represents major studios and streamers such as Amazon, Apple, Disney, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, and Warner Bros. Discovery. SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating committee unanimously recommended the strike, and the National Board is set to vote on Thursday morning.

Fran Drescher, President of SAG-AFTRA, expressed disappointment in the AMPTP’s response, describing it as insulting and disrespectful. Drescher emphasized that the companies have refused to negotiate in good faith, leading to the union’s decision to move forward with the strike recommendation. Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, criticized the studios and streamers for implementing significant changes to the industry’s business model while refusing to engage meaningfully with SAG-AFTRA’s proposals.

The strike will have a significant impact, affecting films and scripted TV shows that employ SAG-AFTRA members worldwide.

The AMPTP expressed deep disappointment with SAG-AFTRA’s decision to walk away from negotiations and claimed that the union had disregarded its offer of historic pay and residual increases, improved pension and health contributions, audition protections, and a groundbreaking AI proposal. The AMPTP argued that SAG-AFTRA’s strike decision would further exacerbate financial hardships for thousands of individuals reliant on the industry for their livelihoods.

The strike comes amid an ongoing strike by the Writers Guild, which has now entered its 73rd day. Many striking writers have supported SAG-AFTRA’s potential strike as a display of union solidarity, aiming to compel the studios to resume negotiations and address their demands for a greater share of the profits generated by their work.

Here’s a breakdown into the SAG-AFTRA strike, outlining the actors’ demands, the negotiating positions of both parties, and the consequences it holds for the industry as a whole.

Actors’ Demands for Fairness and Protection

At the heart of SAG-AFTRA’s demands are the pursuit of fair pay and improved working conditions in an industry grappling with transformative changes driven by streaming platforms. Actors argue that their wages have failed to keep up with inflation, and they face diminishing residuals due to altered rerun patterns resulting from the rise of streaming services. Moreover, the proliferation of shorter seasons has limited job opportunities for actors. They seek to reverse these trends and ensure a sustainable livelihood for themselves.

The actors’ concerns also extend to the unregulated use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the industry. SAG-AFTRA insists on clear guidelines to safeguard actors’ likenesses, voices, and performances from being exploited or reproduced without consent. They emphasize the need for fair compensation when their work is used to train AI systems and create new performances. Addressing these issues is crucial to protecting actors’ rights and maintaining their artistic integrity.

AMPTP’s Position and Negotiation Stance

Representing major studios and streamers, including Amazon, Apple, Disney, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, and Warner Bros. Discovery, the AMPTP has responded to SAG-AFTRA’s demands with a proposal that they claim offers historic pay increases, higher caps on pension and health contributions, audition protections, shortened series option periods, and a groundbreaking AI proposal. However, SAG-AFTRA contends that the AMPTP has been unwilling to engage in meaningful discussions on crucial issues, resulting in a stalemate.

The AMPTP argues that SAG-AFTRA’s decision to strike is an unnecessary choice, highlighting their offer of improved financial benefits and their disappointment with the union’s dismissal of their proposals. The AMPTP maintains that they have made sincere efforts to negotiate and asserts that SAG-AFTRA’s decision will only exacerbate financial hardships for the thousands of individuals dependent on the industry for their livelihoods.

Impact on TV and Film Productions

The SAG-AFTRA strike will significantly disrupt the TV and film landscape, affecting productions not only in the United States but worldwide. Films and scripted TV shows that employ SAG-AFTRA members will experience delays as production comes to a halt. This interruption will have far-reaching consequences, pushing back release dates and potentially affecting the scheduling of future projects.

It is important to note that soap operas fall under a separate contract and will not be directly impacted by the strike. However, the strike’s global reach is emphasized by SAG-AFTRA’s “Global Rule One,” which states that no member shall render services for any employer who has not executed a basic minimum agreement with the union in any jurisdiction where a SAG-AFTRA national collective bargaining agreement is in place.

In addition to the immediate disruptions to TV and film production, the strike will also impact actors’ promotional activities. They will be prohibited from participating in premieres, press junkets, interviews, and other events related to their forthcoming projects, creating a noticeable void in the industry’s promotional efforts.

Actors’ Demands for Fairness and Protection

In conclusion, the SAG-AFTRA strike represents a critical moment for actors in their pursuit of fair compensation, improved working conditions, and protection against emerging challenges. With both actors and writers on strike simultaneously, the industry faces significant challenges that will undoubtedly shape its future landscape. As negotiations continue, the ramifications of this strike will be felt throughout the entertainment industry, highlighting the importance of fair treatment and equitable working environments for all involved.

Impact on Fall TV Season

The ongoing strikes by actors have raised concerns about the upcoming fall TV season. Broadcast networks, such as Fox and ABC, have announced lineups heavy with reality shows, which are not affected by the strikes. However, fresh seasons of comedies and dramas, typically scheduled for September premieres, are likely to face delays.

Streaming Services Hit Pause

Streaming services, including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, will continue to provide local-language shows but will have to put their Hollywood productions on hold due to the strikes. This means that fans may experience delays in the release of new seasons and shows on these platforms.

Unaffected Programming: News and Reality Shows

Not all programming is equally impacted by the strikes. News programs, with their writers covered by a different union, will continue as normal. Similarly, unscripted reality shows like “Big Brother” and “The Bachelor” will proceed without interruptions, providing viewers with their regular dose of entertainment.

Movie Releases Experience Delays

While movies currently in theaters are not immediately affected, future releases are expected to face delays. Film production is a time-consuming process, taking several years to complete. Projects like Marvel’s “Blade” and “Thunderbolts” have already been postponed, and more films are likely to be put on hold until the labor conflicts are resolved.

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