The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have asked its members to vote on a strike authorization on the heels of negotiations with entertainment studios.
SAG-AFTRA will begin negotiations with The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on June 7, calling it the “most consequential bargaining sessions in history.”
“To show our resolve and to enter into negotiations from the strongest position possible, your negotiating committee and National Board unanimously join in asking you to vote YES and authorize a strike,” SAG-AFTRA said in a letter addressed to its members. “This does not mean that a strike will occur; it simply allows the National Board to call a strike if an agreement cannot be reached — and that gives the negotiating committee a strong place from which to begin talks.”
AMPTP represents several major studios that include Amazon/MGM, Apple, NBCUniversal, Disney/ABC/Fox, Netflix, Paramount/CBS, Sony and Warner Brothers.
A primary focus during the bargaining will be the use of AI by these studios, a point that drove the Writers Guild of America (WGA) to strike in early May. The WGA was also negotiating with AMPTP, asking for greater job security for its writers at a time where AI use is catching fire.
Now SAG-AFTRA will attempt to secure the terms for AI use in terms of how it may affect actors.
“There has been a sea change in the entertainment industry, from the proliferation of streaming platforms to the recent explosion of generative AI, and at stake is the ability of our members to make a living,” the SAG-AFTRA letter said. “We must ensure that new developments in the entertainment industry are not used to devalue or disrespect the performers who bring productions to life.”
This is not the first time SAG-AFTRA has asked its members to vote for strike authorization prior to bargaining, doing so in 2018, before reaching contract terms two months later.
The authorization itself does not mean a strike will occur, but gives SAG-AFTRA the option, should new contract terms not be reached by June 30, when contracts end.
“The prospect of a strike is not a first option, but a last resort,” former star of The Nanny and SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said in a statement Thursday. “… I implore eligible members to follow the leads of both the negotiating committee and the National Board with an unprecedented show of solidarity and make three a charm with an emphatic ‘yes’ for a strike authorization vote!”
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