SAG-AFTRA’s National Board of Directors voted unanimously today to recommend that union members authorize a strike ahead of its upcoming negotiations for a new film and television contract.
“In anticipation of the union’s upcoming TV/Theatre contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which will begin June 7, the SAG-AFTRA National Board has unanimously agreed to recommend to its members to vote to authorize a strike,” the guild said. in a statement posted on its website.
“An affirmative vote does not necessarily mean a strike will take place, but it would allow the National Council to call one if deemed necessary during the bargaining process,” the union added. “The action comes on the heels of a unanimous agreement by the TV/Theatre bargaining committee that strike authorization would give the union maximum bargaining power as it enters this round of negotiations with the AMPTP. SAG-AFTRA represents more than 160,000 entertainment and media professionals.
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“It was the greatest solidarity I’ve seen in a long, long time,” a council member said after the meeting. “To get 100% This board to agree on something shows that we are united.
SAG-AFTRA hasn’t hit the film and TV industry since SAG and AFTRA merged in 2012. Their last strike against the studios was in 1980 – a 95-day strike that established the contractual terms for the pay television and video cassettes.
SAG-AFTRA President, Fran Drescher, wrote today: “For the first time in a very long time, the leadership of our members is united at the Bargaining Committee and National Council level to move forward with a authorization to strike. We must put all our ducks in a row if the need arises. The prospect of a strike is not a first option, but a last resort. As my father always said, ‘Better to have and not need than to need and not have!’ Therefore, I implore eligible members to follow the example of the Bargaining Committee and the National Council with an unprecedented show of solidarity and make three a charm with an emphatic ‘yes’ for a vote to authorize a strike. !
According to Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator of the Guild: “The strike authorization sends an important message during the bargaining process. A “yes” vote gives the National Council the power to call a strike if the AMPTP does not negotiate fairly in our next negotiations. It will be a fundamental negotiation that will determine the future of what it means to be a working artist. We must be prepared to fight for a meaningful deal for our members.
In its statement, the guild said: “Earning a living as a professional artist has become increasingly difficult, with inflation and the streaming ecosystem undermining compensation – meanwhile, corporate profits and pay for studio executives continues to rise Add to that the unregulated use of artificial intelligence and the burdens of the industry-wide shift to self-recording, the outlook for working actors becomes unsustainable without transformative change.
“A successful vote to authorize a strike does not trigger a strike. Instead, strike authorization allows the National Council to declare a strike if studios and streaming companies fail to negotiate fairly with SAG-AFTRA for the benefit of its members.
Postcards will be sent to eligible members on May 18 with instructions on how to vote, and voting will close at 5:00 p.m. PT on June 5.
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A strike, if so, could continue until midnight June 30, when the current contract expires.
The news comes on day 16 of the Writers Guild strike against the AMPTP. The Directors Guild, meanwhile, began contract negotiations with the AMPTP on May 10.