There is more upheaval in Hollywood as the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has now officially voted to go on strike. The vote came Thursday. The strike is set to begin at 12:01 a.m. Friday with actors planning to be at picket that same day. SAG-AFTRA represents over 160,000 television and movie actors. The leaders of both unions will now join the Writer’s Guild of America in a strike that kickstarted in May. This strike is the first major walkout in more than 40 years. The strike will also effectively shut down films and scripted TV shows from studios that employ SAG-AFTRA members.
A SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical/Streaming Strike has been ordered effective July 14, at 12:01 a.m. Additional details are forthcoming. The Strike Order can be found here: https://t.co/NFBM7lLGTs pic.twitter.com/SGjmR0BPeu— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) July 13, 2023
“The eyes of the world and, particularly, the eyes of labor are upon us,” SAG-AFTRA president, Fran Drescher, said during a news conference. “What happens to us is important. What’s happening to us is happening across all fields of labor. When employers make Wall Street and greed their priority and they forget about the essential contributors who make the machine run, we have a problem.”
An Unmoving Stymie
The previous three-year contract between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) expired at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday. The contract had been extended from June 30 to allow for more negotiations. With the negotiations hitting a stymie, the union’s negotiating board recommended a strike.
The SAG-AFTRA and the WGA are said to be aligned on a range of demands and issues including sufficient wages for their working actors, residuals, and the protection of their likeness and through artificial intelligence in productions they didn’t partake in. The AMPTP, which is negotiating on behalf of the studios, says that it has been hard to reach a middle ground. The studios however claim that this is a disruptive time for the industry to be able to meet the demands from all unions.
What Black Women Are Saying
Actress Ashley Nicole Black took to Twitter to comment on the AMPTP’s description of the unions’ demands as unreasonable.
It’s interesting how first the AMPTP said WGA was unreasonable, and now that SAG may strike, SAG is also unreasonable. Everyone is unreasonable but them.— Ashley Nicole Black (@ashleyn1cole) July 13, 2023
“It’s interesting how first the AMPTP said WGA was unreasonable, and now that SAG may strike, SAG is also unreasonable. Everyone is unreasonable but them,” Black wrote. “It’s reasonable to ask actors to work 16 and 20 hours days for less and less pay. It’s reasonable for residuals to either be real money or pennies based on which platform the show airs on and taking their word for it how many people watched it, but also they can’t tell you how…”
Black’s Twitter thread was retweeted by “Abbott Elementary” star Sheryl Lee Ralph who initially tweeted about the contract ending.
“Abbott Elementary” writer, Brittani Nichols, has been on strike with the WGA since May. Thursday she tweeted in response to the SAG-AFTRA strike adding a bit of humor to the otherwise serious news.
“Can’t believe the AMPTP told a bunch of actors they’re not special and thought it would go over well,” Nichols wrote.