SAG-AFTRA is making picket signs in the event of a strike next week.
“If a strike becomes necessary, we’re ready,” the guild said in postings on social media Friday. A strike, if it comes to that, would be the actors first against the film and TV industry since 1980, when pre-merger SAG and AFTRA struck to establish contract terms for pay-TV and videocassettes. That walkout lasted more than three months.
Saying that it’s “preparing for a potential TV/theatrical/streaming strike,” SAG-AFTRA sent out a survey to members this week asking them if and how they’d like to volunteer in the event a walkout is called.
The guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers still have until Wednesday to make a deal. They extended their current contract, which had been set to expire on June 30, until July 12 to allow bargaining to continue.
On June 5, the guild’s members voted 98% in favor of authorizing a strike if a fair deal couldn’t be reached. Since then, more than 1,700 members signed a letter to SAG-AFTRA leaders urging them to stand strong at the bargaining table and “join the WGA on the picket lines” if a major “realignment in our industry” can’t be achieved. The Writers Guild strike is now in its 67th day.
Prior to the strike authorization vote, the guild laid out some of its key bargaining issues, which include “economic fairness, residuals, regulating the use of artificial intelligence and alleviating the burdens of the industry-wide shift to self-taping.”
With respect to economic fairness, the guild said:
As for residuals, the guild said that “While new business models mean that more and more SAG-AFTRA content is monetized around the globe, residuals payments are failing to reflect the economic value of this exhibition. SAG-AFTRA is committed to ensuring residual payments both reflect the economic value of our members’ contribution, and serve as a meaningful source of performer earnings.
With respect to AI, the guild said: “Artificial intelligence has already proven to be a real and immediate threat to the work of our members and can mimic members’ voices, likenesses and performances. We must get agreement around acceptable uses, bargain protections against misuse, and ensure consent and fair compensation for the use of your work to train AI systems and create new performances. In their public statements and policy work, the companies have not shown a desire to take our members’ basic rights to our own voices and likenesses seriously.”
Self-taped auditions, meanwhile, “are unregulated and out of control,” the guild said. “Too many pages, too little time and unreasonable requirements have made self-taping auditions a massive, daily, uncompensated burden on the lives of performers. Reasonable rules and limitations, and access to other casting formats, are sorely needed to ensure fair access to work opportunities and protect performers against exploitation.”