SAG-AFTRA Members Authorize Strike With 97% Approval as Deadline Looms

SAG-AFTRA Members Authorize Strike With 97% Approval as Deadline Looms
Jun 2023

There may be another Hollywood strike coming soon.

The members of SAG-AFTRA -- the union representing actors in film, TV and theater -- voted to authorize a strike with a resounding 97.91 percent voting yes, the union announced on Monday. Now to be clear, the vote doesn't mean a strike is happening. In fact, SAG-AFTRA has not even begun to negotiate with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers yet. But negotiations begin later this week, with the SAG-AFTRA contract set to expire on June 30, and the vote authorizes the union's board to call a strike if a deal is not reached.

If they did strike, they'd join the Writers Guild of America on the picket line, with the WGA announcing a strike when their contract expired on May 1. That strike is now extending into its second month, with writers asking producers for increased residuals on streaming content, an end to so-called "mini rooms" that greatly reduce the number of writers working on a project and restrictions on the use of artificial intelligence, among other demands. SAG-AFTRA is looking to get many of the same concessions, and SAG-AFTRA members have been actively picketing studios and production locations along with WGA members, with numerous film and TV productions being shut down as a result.

"The strike authorization votes have been tabulated and the membership joined their elected leadership and negotiating committee in favor of strength and solidarity," SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said in a statement. "I'm proud of all of you who voted as well as those who were vocally supportive, even if unable to vote. Everyone played a part in this achievement. Together we lock elbows and in unity we build a new contract that honors our contributions in this remarkable industry, reflects the new digital and streaming business model and brings ALL our concerns for protections and benefits into the now! Bravo SAG-AFTRA, we are in it to win it."