Major movie studios, streaming services, and production companies face the threat of another strike this month after Hollywood actors—represented by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)—authorized a strike on June 5.
“The stakes have never been higher: We need to ensure a future where members can make a living as a performer and are protected from the misuse of evolving technologies,” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland wrote to union members on June 6.
Crabtree-Ireland rallied members on May 26, saying giant media companies report billions of dollars in revenue while the cast and crew struggle to earn a decent living.
“They may have the money, but we have the numbers. We have the people who fuel these companies’ profits,” Crabtree-Ireland said at an event in Los Angeles on May 26. “It’s going to be a hot labor summer.”
The alliance, a trade organization representing about 350 members, began meeting on June 7 with the actors’ guild, which represents more than 160 screen actors, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, recording artists, program hosts, stunt performers, and other media professionals.
“We are approaching these negotiations with the goal of achieving a new agreement that is beneficial to SAG-AFTRA members and the industry overall,” the alliance told The Epoch Times.
Writers Continue StrikeThe specter of a second strike comes when more than 16,000 film, television, broadcast, and news media writers entered its fifth week of striking against the alliance.
Members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) west and east chapters started a walk-out on May 2 after negotiations broke down. Picketing at major studios in the Los Angeles area and cities across the nation has continued daily since then.
The union is demanding higher wages, more residual pay for streaming services, work guarantees, certain contracts for streaming shows, and protection from emerging AI technology.
“We have walked together on picket lines for a month with the acknowledgment that there is no letting up until we ultimately achieved the contract we deserve, and that we need to survive in this business,” Keyser said in the video on June 3. “We have been highly effective in inflicting pain on the companies by withholding our work, by picketing ... by bringing into our side a coalition of labor that this town has not seen in generations.”
Several other entertainment unions have supported the writers’ strike, including Teamsters, SAG-AFTRA, musicians, electrical workers, laborers, and the Directors Guild of America.
Negotiations between the writers’ union and the alliance have stalled, however, since the beginning of May.
Many in the entertainment industry worry about a second strike crippling the industry as the actors’ union claimed the spotlight.
Filming in Los Angeles and New York has nearly ceased, and production has shut down on many projects. Late-night comedy shows are airing reruns.
Screenwriter Marc Guggenheim told the entertainment magazine Vanity Fair an actors’ strike would cease production.
“And once you shut down production all across the board, it really does change the game,” Guggenheim said. “It’s a lot of money to be hemorrhaging on a daily basis for the studios.”
Directors Reach DealIt took only a few weeks for the Directors Guild of America to reach an agreement with the studios’ alliance. Negotiations started on May 10 and a deal was approved by union members on June 6.
The terms of the agreement haven't been disclosed in detail, and the alliance reserved comment on the deal, but according to a union statement, the deal includes extensive advances in wages, global streaming residuals, workplace safety, diversity, and creative rights.
It also includes new provisions ensuring that AI won’t replace the duties performed by directors or staff members.
According to the union’s president, Lesli Lina Glatter, the agreement provides “significant improvements” and protections for DGA’s 19,000 directors and directorial team members for years to come.
“Across the country, Directors and their teams, writers, actors, crews and drivers have shown unwavering resolve in demanding to share in the success of the films and television shows we create together,” Glatter said in a statement. “We are all union members and deserve to be compensated fairly for our contributions.”