Back in May, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike for the first time since 2007 after failing to reach an agreement with The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) over key issues such as the transition to streaming platforms, shorter television seasons, and lack of consistent work.
Now, following weeks of unfruitful negotiations between AMPTP and the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), the union– which represents approximately 160,000 entertainment industry workers– will also go on strike tonight at 12:00 a.m.
According to SAG-AFTRA president Fan Drescher and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the decision to go on strike was unanimously voted on by the union’s national board after AMPTP refused “to offer a fair deal on key issues essential to protecting the livelihoods of working actors and performers.”
Crabtree-Ireland claimed that SAG-AFTRA– which represents thousands of broadcasters, actors, and various other kinds of performers– had relentlessly tried to find a workable solution for both the union and the AMPTP.
However, AMPTP reportedly did not do the same and refused to draft a contract that compensated performers fairly– particularly in the face of looming financial threats as entertainment shifts to streaming platforms.
“Residual income and high inflation have further reduced our members’ ability to make ends meet. To complicate matters further, actors now face an existential threat to their livelihoods with the rise of generative AI technology,” Crabtree-Ireland stated.
“We’ve proposed contract changes that address these issues, but the AMPTP has been uninterested in our proposals.”
SAG-AFTRA president Fan Drescher agreed with this statement; however, she more pointedly condemned the studios represented by the AMPTP– claiming they “plead poverty; that they are losing money left and right when giving hundreds of millions of dollars to their CEOs.”
Drescher also revealed that she went into the negotiations genuinely believing that a strike could be avoided. Yet, the negotiation process with AMPTP dampened her optimism. And the current move for a strike echoes how laborers around the world– not just in Hollywood– are now fighting for fairer treatment.