Yesterday evening, SAG-AFTRA authorized a strike with some huge numbers: 97.91% in favor. Almost half of the eligible members voted—47.69%. If a strike happens, it will begin on June 30th.
SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher said in a statement:
“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 strike authorization votes have been tabulated and the membership joined their elected leadership and negotiating committee in favor of strength and solidarity. I’m proud of all of you who voted as well as those who were vocally supportive, even if unable to vote. Everyone played a part in this achievement. Together we lock elbows and in unity we build a new contract that honors our contributions in this remarkable industry, reflects the new digital and streaming business model and brings ALL our concerns for protections and benefits into the now! Bravo SAG-AFTRA, we are in it to win it.”
Drescher and SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland sent out a booklet that accompanied the ballots. In it, they wrote, “Our goal in this negotiation is to ensure our members working in film, television, and streaming/new media can continue to earn a professional living with a contract that honors our contributions. We need a contract that will increase contributions to our benefit plans and protect members from erosion of income due to inflation and reduced residuals, unregulated use of generative AI, and demanding self-taped auditions.”
SAG-AFTRA hasn't been on strike since the merger of SAG and AFTRA in 2012, and their last strike against the AMPTP was in 1980.
They have been out on the picket lines in solidarity with the WGA, and now may find themselves striking alongside them. The DGA took a deal from the AMPTP and still has to vote on it, but it's unclear how they will continue to work without actors and writers.
This is the summer of collective bargaining in Hollywood and we're seeing seismic changes throughout.
We'll keep you updated.