SAG-AFTRA Authorizes a Strike Ahead of Contract Negotiations

People carry signs on a picket line as part of the WGA strike.

Image: Michael M. Santiago / Staff (Getty Images)

As the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers enters into negotiations with the Screen Actors Guild, SAG-AFTRA has pulled a bargaining ace out for the public to see. On Monday, the guild revealed it has a 97% mandate to authorize a strike coming from about half to 65% of the eligible voters. The current contract between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP will expire on June 30.

The two associations said in a joint statement that they would not be speaking to the press during the negotiations. The media blackout extends through the entire negotiation process. Earlier, SAG-AFTRA stated that its interests would focus on “economic fairness, residuals, regulating the use of artificial intelligence, and alleviating the burdens of the industry-wide shift to self-taping.”

The strike authorization announcement comes on the heels of the Directors Guild of America announcing it has made a deal with the AMPTP. The DGA deal very likely would not have happened without the Writers Guild of America’s work while on the picket lines—the WGA strike began May 2 and is ongoing—and the imminent threat of a SAG strike vote. While the DGA is happy with its contract, its needs are different from the demands of both SAG and the WGA, though there are some similarities. It seems apparent that cross-union solidarity will be the way forward for all guilds, and as the AMPTP disappears into negotiations with SAG, the WGA will likely not be pulled back into negotiations until after June 30.

Considering how many SAG-AFTRA members have been seen on WGA picket lines, it seems clear that the guild is ready for the real thing. Solidarity across multiple guilds as they fight for their own strong, worker-forward contracts will be key.

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