SAG-AFTRA, which begins negotiations for a new contract on Wednesday, said today that its bargaining strategy remains unchanged in the wake of the tentative deal made last night by the Directors Guild and the studios.
“Our bargaining strategy has never relied upon nor been dependent on the outcome or status of any other union’s negotiations, nor do we subscribe to the philosophy that the terms of deals made with other unions bind us,” SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said in a message posted today on the union’s website. “We continue to stand in strong solidarity with the members of the WGA and with their strike, and we congratulate the DGA on their bargaining and look forward to reviewing the detailed terms of their agreement as soon as possible.”
The Writers Guild, meanwhile, said today its month-long strike will continue unabated and that its own bargaining positions also “remain the same” as at the start of the strike on May 2.
SAG-AFTRA members are currently voting on giving its National Board the authority to call a strike if negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers fail to reach an acceptable deal by June 30.
In seeking that authorization, SAG-AFTRA has said that “Our goal in this negotiation is to ensure our members working in film, television and streaming/new media can continue to earn a professional living with a contract that honors our contributions. We need a contract that will increase contributions to our benefit plans and protect members from erosion of income due to inflation and reduced residuals, unregulated use of generative AI, and demanding self-taped auditions.”
In SAG-AFTRA’s first public utterance about the new DGA deal, Crabtree-Ireland wrote that “While the DGA has released some bullet points reflecting key gains in the agreement, we have not yet had the opportunity to review the details of the agreement. Therefore, it would be premature for us to express any opinion as to the terms from SAG-AFTRA’s perspective.”
Noting the upcoming start of SAG-AFTRA’s negotiations, he said that “As we have done throughout this process, we will remain in close communication with our sister unions, especially the WGA and the DGA, and we will seek to capitalize on the insights we have gained from their bargaining process and progress they have made on common issues. Of course, the needs of SAG-AFTRA members are unique, and each and every area of focus in our negotiations is directed to serving those interests.”
The DGA deal with the AMPTP, which was reached late last night, “achieves major breakthroughs in addressing the international growth of the entertainment industry and makes significant gains across key economic and creative rights while reaffirming the critical role of DGA directors and their teams,” DGA leaders said.
Its provisions include what the DGA is calling “groundbreaking gains in wages and benefits,” a 76% increase in global streaming residuals, and language confirming that generative artificial intelligence “cannot replace the duties performed by members.”