A large group of SAG-AFTRA members have signed an open letter saying they “would rather go on strike than take a bad deal.” The letter was released by “Members in Solidarity,” a collection of more than 3,600 performers including notable names like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jon Hamm, Mark Ruffalo, and Bryan Cranston.
“We have not come all this way to cave now,” the letter says, acknowledging that the actors strike has hit the 100 day mark. “We have not gone without work, without pay, and walked picket lines for months just to give up on everything we’ve been fighting for. We cannot and will not accept a contract that fails to address the vital and existential problems that we all need fixed.”
It continues, “In any union, there will always be a minority who are not willing to make temporary sacrifices for the greater good. But we, the majority who voted overwhelmingly to authorize this strike, are still standing in solidarity, ready to strike as long as it takes and to endure whatever we must in order to win a deal that is worthy of our collective sacrifice. We know that our union leaders are doing everything in their power to achieve that goal as they negotiate in good faith with the companies to arrive at a new contract that will protect us and our fellow performers, now and for generations to come.”
Other signees include Cynthia Nixon, Leslie Odom Jr. Demi Moore, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jonathan Groff, Kate Walsh, Chelsea Handler, Christian Slater, Sandra Oh, Daveed Diggs, Pedro Pascal, and Kal Penn.
The release of the letter comes after a separate group of actors, including A-listers George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Kerry Washington, Tyler Perry, Bradley Cooper, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Aniston, Robert De Niro, and Ben Affleck, made their own offer to help bring the strike to an end. SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher refused that offer, saying the ideas violated labor law and didn’t “hold water.”
Earlier this week, SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood studios resumed negotiations. The organizations’ return to the bargaining table came nearly two weeks after studios walked away citing that “the gap” between the sides was “too great.”
Pressure has been mounting since the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) abandoned negotiations in a surprise move. “We were still grinding it out,” Anthony Rapp, a SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee member told Rolling Stone after the Hollywood execs walked away. “We were still ready to be there as long as it took. So I was a little surprised that they decided to walk away.”
Following the resumption of negotiations, SAG-AFTRA confirmed they sent a “comprehensive counter offer” to AMPTP and will return to the table Friday. “While talks for the day have ended, our committee just completed working internally tonight,” the union noted on social media. “We are scheduled to meet across the table again tomorrow.”