JoAnna Garcia Swisher Fan supports the SAG-AFTRA strike.
The nearly 160,000 members of SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents all performers on film and television, are going on strike.
On Thursday, the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) announced its national board voted unanimously to launch the guild’s first strike. The news was unveiled by SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher and National Executive Director & Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland during a press conference, following the expiration of the union’s current contract and a 12-day extension of contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP).
Why are the actors going on strike?
The short answer is because the SAG-AFTRA bargaining committee and AMPTP could not reach an agreement to form a new contract after their previous one expired on June 30.
But the reasons for a strike are many. SAG-AFTRA has faced a host of radical changes as the industry has pivoted away from more traditional models of theatrical distribution and network and cable television in favor of streaming. The issues at hand include the use of AI in generating and perpetuating actors’ likenesses, as well as residuals and data transparency for streaming projects. Other points of conflict are also salaries, particularly for guest stars, costars, and background actors, as rising inflation and the cost of living increasingly prevent many working actors from earning a living wage.
Drescher summed up the reasons for a strike in a press conference speech. “We are being victimized by a very greedy entity. I am shocked by the way the people that we have been in business with are treating us,” she said. “I cannot believe it, quite frankly. How far apart we are on so many things. How they plead poverty, that they’re losing money left and right while giving hundreds and millions of dollars to their CEOS. It is disgusting. Shame on them. They stand on the wrong side of history at this very moment.”
She continued: “The entire business model has been changed by streaming, digital, AI. This is a moment of history that is a moment of truth. If we don’t stand tall right now, we are going to be in trouble. We are all going to be in jeopardy of being replaced by machines and big business, who cares more about wall street than you and your family.”