Well before the union’s start date for negotiations, the National Council of SAG-AFTRA decided to order a vote on permission to strike.
The union’s 160,000-member leadership body unanimously approved the non-strike action. However, if union members vote in favor of authorization, that would give union leadership the power to call a work stoppage if they deem it necessary during upcoming talks with studios and broadcasters. SAG-AFTRA says the National Council decided on this approach after it was recommended by the union’s Television/Theatrical Negotiations Committee in an effort to improve leverage in negotiations with employers.
Union members will receive postcards with instructions on how to vote on Thursday, and voting closes at 5 p.m. PT on June 5.
SAG-AFTRA is scheduled to begin negotiations on June 7, ahead of the contract’s expiration date of June 30. The Directors Guild of America is currently in negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents studios and broadcast companies in negotiations with unions, with the contract also expiring June 30. AMPTP declined to comment.
“For the first time in a long time, our member leadership stands in solidarity at the negotiating committee and at the national council level to move forward with obtaining permission to strike. We must get all our ducks in succession if the need arises,” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said in a statement. The possibility of a blow is not the first option, it is the last resort.As my father always says, “It is better to have and not need than to need and not need!”
Drescher called on the members to “follow the leadership of both the negotiating committee and the National Council” and vote “yes” on the mandate as an expression of solidarity and strength.
The last time SAG-AFTRA went on strike was in 2000, when the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) were still separate unions. They got together to negotiate the commercials contract that year in a six-month hiatus.
SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said in a statement, “Permission to strike sends an important message throughout the negotiation process. A ‘yes’ vote gives the National Council the power to call a strike if AMPTP does not negotiate fairly at our next course.” He added, “These will be key negotiations that will define the future of what it means to be a performer. We must be ready to fight to secure a meaningful deal for our members.”
In its announcement, the union argued that the current industry environment, due to inflation and “an ecosystem flow that undermines compensation,” has jeopardized performers’ ability to earn a living. Like the Writers Guild of America, which is currently on strike, SAG-AFTRA also highlighted high executive salaries and corporate profits while its members struggle.
in the attendant FAQ pageThe union also revealed that its top priorities for the 2023 negotiations include improving “economic fairness” in an environment with short TV seasons and long breaks (the union says it wants to improve compensation and bolster its health and pension plans), regulate the use of artificial intelligence, increase residual payments and change the current culture. For self-registration for auditions.
“Many other important issues, including those related to certain professions and groups, will also be on the table,” the federation added.
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