On July 13, 2023, SAG-AFTRA confirmed that its members would indeed go on strike. Much like with the WGA months prior, the organization’s discussions with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) failed to result in an acceptable contract regarding streaming revenue, AI concerns, and much more. And for the first time since 1960, both actors and writers were picketing together.
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The WGA finally came to an agreement with the studios in late September (the terms became fully ratified earlier this month), but the actors strike is still ongoing. As of this weekend, SAG-AFTRA will have been striking for 100 days, one of the longest in the union’s history. In remembrance of the milestone, SAG-AFTRA noted the “many sacrifices” from members, strike captains, and those who’ve supported it over the last three months. “We must win this fight,” it wrote. “With unwavering resolve & solidarity, we remain SAG-AFTRA Strong.”
On October 19, the union released a statement to its members highlighting how it’s been “united in our pursuit of justice, fairness, and the value we bring to the industry. […] The AMPTP continues to attempt to sow division amongst us, misrepresenting our proposals and trying to manipulate public sentiment. Yet, even as they walked away, we all remained steadfast, refusing to be swayed by anything less than what we rightfully deserve.”
In that statement, SAG-AFTRA called out studio executives that tried painting them as “greedy” for wanting 2% of streaming revenue, and then a mere 1% when the first number wasn’t getting anywhere. But with the AMPTP refusing to counter many of its “absolutely vital proposals” (such as minimum wage rates), the union called on members to continue supporting its full proposal package. It also took the time to acknowledge the recent attempt made by A-list stars like George Clooney and Emma Stone to get involved in things via a $150 million fund to pay for SAG-AFTRA’s dues.
“This generous concept is worthy of consideration,” SAG-AFTRA said, “but it is in no way related to and would have no bearing on this present contract or even as a subject of collective bargaining. It is, in fact, prohibited by Federal labor law. […] The fact that the heads of the networks, streaming companies and studios are open to communicating with them directly is great. But, the executives should not for one second think that they can use the good will of member emissaries to distract us from our mission.”
In recent months, studios have attempted to rewrite the strike narrative by hiring a new PR firm, and further retaliated by canceling a number shows and pushing movies originally meant for 2023 into 2024. The fight is far from over—and it could potentially just be getting started for video game actors—but SAG-AFTRA doesn’t have any intent to back down.
“Just as the WGA weathered the storm, so shall we. Let’s draw strength from one another and trust that our unity will lead us to the contract we deserve. One day longer. One day stronger. As long as it takes.”
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