In a statement released to members shortly after midnight, union leaders have shared news that talks have broken down in large part to the studios engaging in “bully tactics,” before walking away from the bargaining table completely.

This is obviously a huge blow and major letdown to what looked like solid progress for the SAG-AFTRA strike. The union has expressed their “profound disappointment” in this latest development and has urged members to be sure to show back up at the picket lines to keep expressing their solidarity.

Here’s everything we’ve learned from statements from both sides.

Bully Tactics and Bad Faith

It sounds like one of the largest issues still, as it always does, comes down to money. According to Variety, the union proposal to share in streaming revenue has always been a hot-button topic, and it sounds like a large part of the breakdown has to do with agreeing on what that revenue share looks like with sides failing to agree on how much the proposal would cost the streaming platforms per subscriber per year.

“We have negotiated with them in good faith, despite the fact that last week they presented an offer that was, shockingly, worth less than they proposed before the strike began. These companies refuse to protect performers from being replaced by AI, they refuse to increase your wages to keep up with inflation, and they refuse to share a tiny portion of the immense revenue YOUR work generates for them.” — SAG-AFTRA

SAG-AFTRA has long maintained that they want a share of streaming revenue from all union-covered productions, including made-for-streaming films and TV shows, which would extend beyond the deal won by the WGA with their success-based bonus model.

“SAG-AFTRA’s current offer included what it characterized as a viewership bonus that, by itself, would cost more than $800 million per year – which would create an untenable economic burden. SAG-AFTRA presented few, if any, moves on the numerous remaining open items.” — AMPTP said in a statement.

However, the union has countered the above statement by saying that the studios are putting out misleading information in an aim to weaken the resolve of the membership and that those numbers are not accurate.

SAG-AFTRA members prepare picket line signs for a strike

Credit: Twitter/SAG-AFTRA

Where Things Stand Currently

Now in its 90th day, the actors' strike is likely to be just as long, if not longer, than the 1980 SAG strike, and—while sides have been closer in recent months—this latest setback is indeed significant.

There are also important issues regarding consent for the use of AI for both principal and background actors, plus concerns regarding AI training, which is still being hammered out. And SAG-AFTRA has argued that the AMPTP has been misleading on this topic of AI.

Hopefully though, with a group of studio CEOs (like Bob Iger of Disney, David Zaslav of Warner Bros. Discovery, Donna Langley of NBCUniversa and Ted Sarandos of Netflix) meeting with SAG-AFTRA negotiators again recently things will still be able to progress again here soon.

Source: Variety