In anticipation of the union’s forthcoming TV/Theatrical Contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which begin June 7, the SAG-AFTRA National Board agreed unanimously to recommend that its members vote to authorize a strike. An affirmative vote does not mean a strike would necessarily happen, but it would allow the National Board to call one if deemed necessary during the negotiations process. The action comes following a unanimous agreement by the TV/Theatrical negotiating committee that the strike authorization would give the union maximum bargaining leverage as it enters this round of negotiations with the AMPTP. SAG-AFTRA represents more than 160,000 entertainment and media professionals.
“For the first time in a very long time, our member leadership stands in solidarity at the negotiating committee and the National Board levels on moving forward with a strike authorization. We must get all our ducks in a row should the need present itself, said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher. “The prospect of a strike is not a first option, but a last resort. As my dad always says, ‘Better to have and not need than to need and not have!’ Therefore, I implore eligible members to follow the leads of both the negotiating committee and the National Board with an unprecedented show of solidarity and make three a charm with an emphatic ‘yes’ for a strike authorization vote!”
SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland explained, “Strike authorization sends an important message during the negotiations process. A ‘yes’ vote gives the National Board the power to call a strike if the AMPTP does not negotiate fairly in our upcoming bargaining. This will be a seminal negotiation that will determine the future of what it means to be a working performer. We must be ready to fight to secure a meaningful deal for our members.”
Earning a living as a professional performer has become increasingly difficult, with both inflation and the streaming ecosystem undercutting compensation — all the while, corporate profits and executive pay at studios continue to rise. Add to this the unregulated use of artificial intelligence and the burdens of the industrywide shift to self-tape, the outlook for working actors becomes unsustainable without transformative change.
A successful strike authorization vote doesn’t initiate a strike. Instead, the strike authorization permits the National Board to declare a strike if the studios and streaming companies fail to negotiate fairly with SAG-AFTRA for the benefit of its members.
Postcards will be sent to eligible members on Thursday, May 18 with instructions on how to vote, and voting will close at 5 p.m. PT on Monday, June 5.
The current SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical Agreement expires at midnight on June 30, 2023.