Los Angeles, September 14, 2023 — In a show of solidarity and determination, SAG-AFTRA, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, organized a massive march and rally outside the iconic Paramount studio yesterday. This event marked the 62nd day of their ongoing strike, with union leaders emphasizing the strike’s broader significance beyond the entertainment industry.
- ‘Ginger Snaps’ Trilogy Gets Blu-ray Box Set From Second Sight
- 10 Best Movies About Dreams and Nightmares, According to Reddit
- Blue Finch Films Boards Global Sales on Sitges, Beyond Horror Title ‘Last Straw’ (EXCLUSIVE)
- Where to Watch & Stream ‘Bottoms’
- Where to Watch ‘The Notebook’: Streaming, Blu-ray, Digital, and DVD Status
Union leaders passionately argued that their struggle transcends the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, as they confront what they view as “unchecked corporate greed” impacting workers across various sectors. Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union’s executive director, spoke fervently about the stakes involved, stating, “What’s at stake is bigger than just the entertainment industry. It’s about the livelihoods of everyone who needs a job to earn a living.” He called upon actors to use their voices and authenticity to support the broader labor movement, declaring, “This is your time.”
Lorena Gonzalez, the executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, emphasized that SAG-AFTRA’s efforts to regulate artificial intelligence have relevance beyond the entertainment sector. She cited examples of AI encroaching on professions such as big-rig drivers and checkout workers, warning that the threat of automation affects every workplace in California. Gonzalez declared, “It’s about time somebody stood up to them at the bargaining table and said, ‘We’re not going to take it anymore.'”
Fran Drescher, the president of SAG-AFTRA, acknowledged the challenges posed by the strike but expressed conviction in its historic impact. Drescher stated, “What we need to do actually is change the culture. We are going to make history so generations from now, they’re going to be talking about us right here and right now because we changed the course of history.”
Frances Fisher, a member of the SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee, revealed the union’s push for legislation in Sacramento that would nullify contracts allowing the use of AI on actors’ likenesses if signed without legal representation. Additionally, the union is advocating for state legislation that would grant unemployment benefits to striking workers, with an effective date of January 1.
Fisher expressed her preference for the rally’s atmosphere over the confines of negotiation rooms, saying, “It feels a heck of a lot better out here with you guys on the picket line than sitting in a hermetically sealed, fluorescent-lit, windowless room—working hard, but not taken seriously by the lawyers across the table. This is serious. And they know it. Oh, yeah. We don’t mess around.”
Despite the 62-day strike, there have been no formal talks between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The AMPTP had been focused on negotiations with the Writers Guild of America, who have been on strike for 135 days. While backchannel talks have occurred, there is currently no planned return to the bargaining table.
In addition to AI regulations, SAG-AFTRA is demanding an 11% increase in guild minimums to account for inflation and a 2% share of revenue attributed to each show on any streaming platform.
The AMPTP has offered to share streaming viewership data with the Writers Guild of America but has resisted linking residuals to streaming success. Crabtree-Ireland welcomed the AMPTP’s data transparency proposal as “a very good step forward” but emphasized that neither SAG-AFTRA nor the WGA can wait three years for a success-based streaming formula, stating, “No money for three years? We’re not going to do that. They’re not going to do that. No. Of course not.”
As the strike continues, it remains a potent symbol of the entertainment industry’s ongoing labor struggles, with SAG-AFTRA actors steadfastly advocating for their rights, fair compensation, and job security in an era of increasing automation and streaming dominance.