Hollywood actors represented by SAG-AFTRA have voted to go on strike following failed negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) regarding a fair contract.
The decision has been made official, as the actor’s guild SAG-AFTRA initiated a strike after talks with the AMPTP officially collapsed on Wednesday. With no agreement reached, the guild proceeded with the strike after the contract officially expired on July 12th at 11:59 p.m. PT. Initially scheduled to expire on June 30th, the contract was extended until July 12th to allow for further negotiations. In May, the SAG-AFTRA national board unanimously agreed to send an authorization vote to its members, recommending a strike if deemed necessary. The vote resulted in 97.91 percent of members in favor of authorizing the strike. The strike officially commenced at midnight, with picketing set to begin on Friday morning, July 14th.
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, addressed the press during a press conference, saying, “Yesterday our union celebrated the 90th anniversary of the incorporation of Screen Actors Guild. During our nearly century-long existence, we’ve fought for and achieved countless gains for working actors. Today, we embark on a new important chapter in our union’s history. Earlier this morning, the SAG-AFTRA national board convened following four weeks of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television producers in a meeting because AMPTP remains unwilling to offer a fair deal on key issues essential to protecting the livelihoods of working actors and performers. SAG-AFTRA, as the national board, unanimously voted to issue a strike order against the studios and streamers.”
A Message from the SAG-AFTRA President and Chief Negotiator: For the future of our profession, we stand together. https://t.co/FHL3jsULIa
— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) July 13, 2023
Despite ongoing negotiations leading up to the deadline, minimal progress was made between the two parties. SAG-AFTRA had agreed to the AMPTP’s request on Tuesday to involve federal mediators in an effort to break the deadlock before the deadline. However, SAG-AFTRA expressed doubts about the employers’ intention to negotiate towards an agreement.
“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,” the statement from SAG-AFTRA declared.
SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating committee voted unanimously to recommend to the National Board a strike of the Producers-SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical/Streaming Contracts which expired July 12, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. PT.
SAG-AFTRA’s National Board will vote Thursday morning on whether to strike. https://t.co/ZoDmoDYZc0
— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) July 13, 2023
The statement further emphasized that SAG-AFTRA’s main objective was to obtain a deal that guarantees its members a living wage within the expansive entertainment industry. SAG-AFTRA urged the AMPTP to present a satisfactory offer, noting that time was running out.
SAG-AFTRA now joins the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in the strike against the AMPTP. The WGA’s contract with the producers and studios expired in April, and the writers’ strike has been ongoing for 73 days. A recent report suggests that the AMPTP intends to delay negotiations with the writers until fall, as a strategy to pressure the union into signing a new agreement.
The combined strikes by SAG-AFTRA and the WGA have effectively brought Hollywood to a standstill. While the writers’ strike had already caused disruptions and delays in various film and television projects, the participation of actors in the strike will further halt nearly all remaining ongoing productions, effectively grinding the industry to a halt. The impact of the strike extends beyond the realm of film and television, potentially affecting events like the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con, as actors have been encouraged to boycott the pop culture event due to the strike, which is now in effect.
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