Hollywood actors are expected to strike imminently after union talks broke down this week.
Following a break down in negotiations between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and the US actors’ union Sag-Aftra (Screen Actors Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), actors could be joining striking writers on the picket line as early as today (July 13), according to Reuters.
The SAG-AFTRA union said its national board would vote on a strike order today. If it goes ahead, it will mark the first time in more than 60 years that actors and writers have gone on strike simultaneously.
Here is everything we know about why actors are poised to strike this week.
SAG-AFTRA – is Hollywood’s largest union, which represents 160,000 actors and performers – and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) are seeking an increase in base pay and residuals in the age of streaming, while other negotiations relate to safeguards against the unregulated use of artificial intelligence in the industry.
The WGA strike, which began on May 2, occurred following unsuccessful negotiations with AMPTP, who represent major Hollywood studios like Netflix, Disney, Apple, Amazon, Paramount, Warner Bros. and others.
Since the strike was announced, a number of films and TV shows have shut down production in solidarity. You can find out which have been affected here.
Now, actors might be joining their industry peers on the picket line. According to Associated Press, a press conference is scheduled for 12pm PST announcing the decision.
The BBC reports that striking actors could be in the tens of thousands.
The actors’ guild released a statement which said its deadline for negotiations had ended without an agreement.
“The companies have refused to meaningfully engage on some topics and on others completely stonewalled us. Until they do negotiate in good faith, we cannot begin to reach a deal,” said Fran Drescher, The Nanny star and actors’ guild president.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the group representing the studios, said in a statement: “This is the Union’s choice, not ours. In doing so, it has dismissed our offer of historic pay and residual increases, substantially higher caps on pension and health contributions, audition protections, shortened series option periods, a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors’ digital likenesses, and more.”
It added that, instead of pushing ahead with negotiations, “SAG-AFTRA has put us on a course that will deepen the financial hardship for thousands who depend on the industry for their livelihoods”.
In a letter to SAG-AFTRA members, Drescher told actors to be prepared to join the picket line after today’s vote.
“As you know, over the past decade, your compensation has been severely eroded by the rise of the streaming ecosystem,” Drescher wrote. “Furthermore, artificial intelligence poses an existential threat to creative professions, and all actors and performers deserve contract language that protects them from having their identity and talent exploited without consent and pay.”
Whilst gracing the pink carpet, #Barbie star Margot Robbie said she supports the actors’ strike and all the unions, and would be prepared to join the picket lines.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 13, 2023
“I’m obviously on board and part of SAG and I’m definitely in support of all unions so I hope everyone reaches an agreement they’re happy with,” she told journalist Natalie Jamieson.
He went on: “And 26,000 bucks a year is what you have to make to get your health insurance. And there are a lot of people whose residual payments are what carry them across that threshold. And if those residual payments dry up, so does their health care. And that’s absolutely unacceptable. We can’t have that. So, we got to figure out something that is fair.”