SAG-AFTRA Moves A Step Closer To Strike Action

Much of America's TV and film production has shut down amid the ongoing strike by the Writer's Guild of America. The union, which represents writers in both Hollywood and TV networks, has been on strike since May 2. While the reasons for the strike are myriad, they include demands over basic pay, access to sets, residual pay, and the use of AI.

However, while studio bosses are currently holding firm in denying the demands of the WGA, they might be about to be hit with another strike. This time, it's the actors who are potentially preparing to walk out. If the strike is called, it would absolutely devastate the bloated, top-heavy entertainment industry that has long relied on its workers not doing this.

Union Board Endorses Strike Action

SAG-AFTRA is the primary union representing actors and on-screen personalities. The union is a behemoth, ranging from film stars to newscasters. However, SAG-AFTRA has not called for a strike since 2000. In that instance, members of the union executed a six-month work stoppage between May and October. Furthermore, while many SAG members have spoken out in solidarity with the WGA strike, their own time on the picket may be imminent. Late on May 17, the SAG-AFTRA board voted unanimously in favor of endorsing strike action and encouraging union members to vote in favor of strike authorization. One of the biggest reasons for the vote was opposition to the increasing use of AI.

The vote is a bold move towards strike action for SAG-AFTRA. If authorized, a SAG-AFTRA strike at the same time as a WGA strike would effectively cripple the entertainment industry. The 2000 SAG-AFTRA strike lasted six months. The 2007-08 WGA strike lasted 14 weeks. A combined SAG-WGA strike, especially as the key summer production block and fall premiere season approaches, should be a terrifying prospect to studio executives. This is exactly the sort of thing you want to avoid if you like having a job at a major studio. It's unclear how much support the strike authorization vote will get. However, if the support for the WGA strike from SAG members is anything to go by, then SAG-AFTRA will be hitting the picket lines very soon.



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