After the Writers Guild of America (WGA) reached an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP) on September 27, industry members, especially actors, were hopeful that the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) would too.
Let’s remember that SAG-AFTRA’s strike began on July 14, when actors joined writers on the picket lines to strike against major studios and production companies. The main reason why actors stopped working was because studios refused to pay fair salaries and their appropriate residuals. Also, there have been serious concerns about the use of AI, as some studios have been scanning and using actors' faces and voices without their consent to reuse them in the future but without the need to hire them.
WGA’s demands were similar to SAG-AFTRA’s requirements, and they did reach an agreement after a whole weekend of negotiations on the last week of September. “We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership” said the Writers Guild of America in a statement.
Just a couple of days later, on October 2, SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP restarted negotiations. After a whole week of meetings, each party took the weekend to make their own offers, but now it has been revealed that the bargain was suspended on October 11, as they couldn’t reach an agreement.
SAG-AFTRA released a statement the next morning. “To our fellow SAG-AFTRA members: It is with profound disappointment that we report the industry CEOs have walked away from the bargaining table after refusing to counter our latest offer. 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.” the statement continued. They also mentioned how SAG-AFTRA had to make significant changes in their proposals to get studios to listen to their demands.
According to the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the revenue share they proposed would cost major studios around 57 cents per subscriber each year. To understand the outrage, David Zaslav, Warner Bros. president, earns almost $500 million dollars per year, making it the highest salary for a Hollywood executive. Netflix’s CEO Ted Sarandos earns around $192 million per year, while Disney’s CEO Bob Iger $195 million.
After this, SAG-AFTRA expressed that they won’t meet again until the AMPTP agrees to their terms and surrenders their misleading tactics. So far, actors have been striking for almost three months, and it seems that negotiations won't resume until late October or early November.
In the meantime, actors can’t promote or engage in any type of activity related to their craft. Only a few productions have been green-lit to continue productions, and that includes those films and TV shows produced by small companies and studies that have agreed to SAG-AFTRA’s terms. Some of the films that have been able to continue filming and promoting are Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla and Michael Mann’s Ferrari, among many others.
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