Hollywood actors set stage for strike after contract negotiations fail


Hollywood actors could soon have a new role: picketers.

Thousands of screen artists represented by the powerful union SAG-AFTRA, which stands for Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, are on strike after the union and a trade association representing major studios of the industry could not agree on a new contract.

«The SAG-AFTRA television/film/streaming contracts have expired without a successor agreement,» the union said. said in a statement early thursday. It is seeking greater compensation and guarantees around the use of artificial intelligence in the creative arts.

The union said that after more than four weeks of negotiations, the group representing major studios and broadcasters, including Amazon, Apple, Disney, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros. Discovery, «remains unwilling to offer a fair deal on key issues. that are essential for SAG-AFTRA members.»

The union’s national board will meet Thursday morning to decide whether to order a strike, with a news conference scheduled for 12 noon PT.

SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said: «SAG-AFTRA negotiated in good faith and was eager to reach an agreement that sufficiently addressed the needs of artists, but the AMPTP’s responses to the union’s larger proposals They have been insulting and disrespectful of our massive contributions to this industry.»

The contract between the two parties expired shortly before midnight on Wednesday, capping days of high-stakes and suspenseful negotiations.

The strike will be limited to film and television productions. The strike will not involve SAG-AFTRA members who work in the news business, such as certain anchors and announcers.

The announcement comes more than two months ago. after the Writers Guild of America, a union representing film and television writers, went on strike amid its own dispute with the AMPTP. (The group represents Comcast, the corporation that owns NBCUniversal; some NBCUniversal News Group employees are represented by WGA.)

The writers’ strike halted most television production, delayed filming on some high-profile movies, and sent late-night talk shows to reruns. The actors’ strike is likely to force other sets to shut down.

SAG-AFTRA members authorized a strike on June 5 by an overwhelming margin: 97.91% of the nearly 65,000 members who cast their ballots. The union began negotiations with major studios and streaming services two days later.

The union’s existing contract with the major studios originally expired at midnight on June 30, but both sides have agreed to continue negotiations and have extended the talks until July 12.

SAG-AFTRA has argued that artists have been undermined by the new economy of streaming entertainment and threatened by rising technologies.

The union is seeking higher base compensation for performers, which union leaders say has declined as early broadcast studios move away from paying waste to talent and inflation takes its toll on the broader economy.

Union actors are also alarmed by the threat posed by the unrelated use of artificial intelligence (such as tools that can make digital replacements for recognizable stars) and the cost of «self-recorded auditions,» videos that used to be paid for by casting. production departments and offices.

In recent weeks, some in the entertainment business have worried that all three of Hollywood’s biggest guilds — SAG-AFTRA, WGA and the Directors Guild of America, or DGA — will walk out of the job simultaneously. But that won’t be the case as the DGA announced in early June that it had reached a «truly historic» tentative agreement with the studios.

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