Hollywood actors saw the writers strike and said, “Yes, and…”
SAG-AFTRA, Hollywood’s biggest trade union, is following the Writers Guild of America by going on strike after the union failed to reach a new labor deal with major studios. Although it’s often referred to as an actor’s union, the SAG-AFTRA union has 160,000 members total and consists of journalists, stunt doubles, background performers, models, and more.
This historic event marks the first time in 63 years that both actors and writers have gone on strike at the same time. Promotional events for the upcoming films Oppenheimer and Barbie have already been impacted, and the strike has the potential to bring the industry to a grinding halt.
The Negotiating Table
One of the biggest issues on the negotiating table is the topic of residuals. The rise of streaming services changed the traditional way actors receive residual payments for their work, and workers seek to ensure they are well-compensated when their work is licensed to streamers.
At the same time, streaming services are cutting spending on content. Now, many members of the union are feeling squeezed, while CEOs continue to receive 10-figure pay packages.
Finally, the union wants to ensure that actors and creators — along with their digital likenesses — are protected from the rise of generative AI.
This strike has already impacted upcoming movies. Oppenheimer stars Matt Damon and Emily Blunt walked off the UK premiere of the film after the strike was announced.
As of now, there is no end to the strike in sight. SAG-AFTRA executive director, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, stated the union’s leadership will not return to the bargaining table, maintaining the studios “are well aware of what it takes to make a deal.”
You may see immediate impacts of this strike across TV and social media. For those millions of moviegoers patiently awaiting upcoming blockbusters like Deadpool 3, Avatar 3, and Ghostbusters 4, this move could test that patience. For those 160,000 Hollywood workers not-so-patiently awaiting protection and compensation, it couldn’t have come soon enough.
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