Solidarity is in the air, and we feel happy to see it. In May, the Writer’s Guild of America went on strike after the studios refused to meet proposals for better pay and equity. And now, a second strike is possible. SAG-AFTRA, the Screen Actors Guild, voted recently on a strike authorization for members of the organization. This means that a SAG-AFTRA strike is now also possible. In fact, like with the Writer’s Guild, the Screen Actors Guild voted in overwhelming numbers in favor of a strike: 97.91% of SAG-AFTRA approved.
So what does this mean? Well, as SAG-AFTRA’s official website explains, this does not mean that the guild is calling a strike yet—merely that a strike is possible should the studios and SAG-AFTRA be unable to meet an agreement. The SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical Contracts currently in place will expire at midnight on June 30. If no new contracts are accepted, as was the case with the WGA, then a strike will begin. Should a SAG-AFTRA strike occur, all union productions must stop filming.
Like with the writers of our favorite movies and TV shows, actors are facing times of unprecedented challenges. SAG-AFTRA’s website notes, “Streaming, inflation, and out-of-control self-taping requests have actors working longer and harder than ever, struggling to make ends meet.”
Additionally, SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland shared the following about the strike authorization:
I could not be more pleased with this response from the membership. This overwhelming yes vote is a clear statement that it’s time for an evolution in this contract. As we enter what may be one of the most consequential negotiations in the union’s history, inflation, dwindling residuals due to streaming, and generative AI all threaten actors’ ability to earn a livelihood if our contracts are not adapted to reflect the new realities. This strike authorization means we enter our negotiations from a position of strength, so that we can deliver the deal our members want and deserve.
As with any form of labor, people deserve, at base, to make a living wage from their work and to be given respectful benefits and protections. We hope to see the solidarity between the guilds continue and a fair resolution for SAG-AFTRA and the WGA achieved soon.