Hollywood Actors Strike Negotiations to Restart Just Days After Writers Reach New Agreement

Hollywood Actors Strike Negotiations to Restart Just Days After Writers Reach New Agreement
Hollywood actors and writers picketed outside major studios again this week as strikes continued in Burbank, Calif., on Sept 18, 2023. The Writers Guild of America expects to return to contract negotiations Wednesday with major studios and streaming services. (Jill McLaughlin/The Epoch Times)
Katabella Roberts

Hollywood actors currently on strike will continue negotiations with studios next week, just days after writers ended their own nearly five-month-long strike this week.

The actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA, said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, that it will meet with executives from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on Oct. 2 as part of ongoing efforts to get a new deal.

"As negotiations proceed, we will report any substantiative updates directly to you," the union said. "We appreciate the incredible displays of solidarity and support from all of you over the last 76 days of this strike," it added.

The update comes shortly after the Hollywood writer's strike was declared over on Sept. 26 when board members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) approved a new contract with AMPTP following months of negotiations over higher salaries, residuals for streaming programs, and protections against the growing threat of artificial intelligence (AI) in the film industry.

The governing boards of the eastern and western branches of the WGA both voted to accept the new three-year deal, which includes minimum pay increases of 5 percent, effective immediately, followed by another 4 percent increase in May 2024 and another 3.5 percent increase in May 2025.

Meanwhile, the Health Fund contributions on reportable earnings will also increase by a half percentage point, to 12 percent, in the second year of the new agreement.

A key point in the negotiations centered on residuals and under the new contract, WGA members will receive a "bonus equal to 50 percent of the fixed domestic and foreign residual" if the show or film is "viewed by 20 percent or more of the service’s domestic subscribers in the first 90 days of release or the first 90 days of any subsequent exhibition year."

Concerns Over AI, Revenues

The contentious topic of AI was also addressed under the new deal, which states that such technology will be banned from being used to write or rewrite literary material. Studios will also be prohibited from requiring writers to use AI technology.

Union members can, however, choose to use AI when performing writing services if the company consents.

After voting to accept the new agreement, WGA said writers could now go back to work starting at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Hollywood actors have raised similar concerns in their strikes, which began in July, and have called for a larger slice of the revenue generated by streaming shows, as well as better working conditions and AI protections.

Earlier this month, the strike was expanded to include video game makers.

"It’s time for the video game companies to stop playing games and get serious about reaching an agreement on this contract," said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher in a statement announcing the expanded strike on Sept. 25.

"The result of this vote shows our membership understands the existential nature of these negotiations, and that the time is now for these companies—which are making billions of dollars and paying their CEOs lavishly—to give our performers an agreement that keeps performing in video games as a viable career," she added.

SAG-AFTRA was formed in 2012 following the merger of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

It represents roughly 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, and more.

While negotiations are set to begin again on Monday, it is unclear how much longer the strikes—which have stalled production on multiple movies and TV shows—will last.

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