Hollywood actors guild votes to authorize strike, as writers strike continues

Streaming HUBJune 6, 2023

Actors represented by Hollywood union SAG-AFTRA voted Monday evening to authorize a strike if major studios, streamers and production companies cannot agree on a new contract by June 30.

The guild, which represents more than 160,000 screen actors, broadcast reporters, announcers, hosts and stunt performers, begins its talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Wednesday over a dispute of its own by the Writers Guild of America. With AMPTP a month after starting the strike. If the actors’ union ultimately goes ahead with the strike, it will be limited to television and film production; News and broadcast work will not be directly affected.

At stake are increased basic compensation, which actors say has been reduced by inflation and the streaming ecosystem, the threat of unregulated use of artificial intelligence, profit schemes and the burden of “self-taped auditions” – which cost Earlier there used to be the responsibility of casting and production.

The strike authorization vote, a tool on the bargaining table, comes at a critical moment for the industry as 11,500 writers enter their sixth week of strike and the Directors Guild recently reached a tentative agreement with studios on issues such as wages, streaming residuals, and wages. Let’s review. artificial intelligence. Should there be an actors’ strike, the industry already grappling with the writers’ strike would come to a near standstill, from production to promotion of completed projects.

The WGA, DGA and SAG-AFTRA have shown solidarity with each other since writers began walking the picket lines on May 2. Many in Hollywood were concerned about the very real possibility that all three guilds would strike at the same time, as the contracts of both the directors and the actors were also due to expire soon.

That landscape changed Sunday night when the Directors Guild, which represents 19,000 film, television and commercial directors, announced they had reached a “truly historic” tentative agreement with the studios. The terms, which have not been disclosed in detail to the press or other associations, will be presented to the DGA board on Tuesday for approval and then to the membership for ratification.

Representatives of both the Writers Guild and Actors Guild congratulated the directors group on reaching a tentative deal, although none commented on specific points of the DGA terms. The WGA also said that its bargaining position remains the same.

The DGA deal did not go down well with some individual WGA members, some of whom were recalled when the directors negotiated their own contracts while the writers were on strike in 2007–2008. Some felt that the deal, struck 15 years earlier, set a precedent that forced the writers to conform to the terms accepted by the DGA and end the strike.

“Zero surprises. AMPTP continues to use their tired old playbook. And the DGA is sadly leaving knowing they could actually draft the WGA’s resolution for a historic deal He’s moving on. Disappointing, but not surprising,” veteran television writer Steven DeKnight, who also wrote and directed “Pacific Rim: Uprising,” tweeted.

Anticipating a repeat, the WGA negotiating committee released a letter last week warning that the studios would once again adopt a “divide and conquer” strategy, pitting the defectors against each other.

The WGA letter stated, ‘Our position is clear: to resolve the strike, the companies must negotiate with the WGA on our full agenda.’ “We will continue to march until the companies hold fair talks with us.”

Where unions have appeared more united this time, their objectives are also different in many akhadas. For directors, securing international streaming residuals which was a key component to subscriber growth, such as wages, safety (such as banning live ammunition on set), diversity and inclusion and adding Juneteenth as a paid holiday .

The WGA agenda included increased wages, better residuals and minimum staffing requirements. One major area of ​​overlap between all is artificial intelligence. The DGA said they reached “an important agreement that affirms that AI is not a person and that generative AI cannot replace the duties performed by members.”

SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland says the needs of actor members of the guild are unique. Hollywood actors have not gone on strike against AMPTP since 1980, which saw a 95-day strike over the terms of pay television and VHS tapes.

Crabtree-Ireland said, “Our bargaining strategy has never been dependent on the outcome or status of another union’s negotiations, nor do we subscribe to the philosophy that the terms of deals with other unions bind us.” “

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