Television and film actors could soon vote on whether to authorize a strike, if their union is not able to make a deal with studios and television networks by June 30. The possibility of a strike vote comes as many television shows are beginning production for the fall season, or are getting ready to do so.
In an online letter to union members, SAG-AFTRA said it presented “reasonable proposals” to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The union says the AMPTP has responded with “outrageous rollbacks that cut to the core of our basic terms and conditions.”
SAG-AFTRA also says, “Management’s demands will mean more for less – more hours, more work, more unreimbursed travel and less opportunity for fair compensation.”
Earlier this week, the AMPTP’s in-house counsel Alan Brunswick told The Recorder, “I don’t know what those outrageous rollbacks would be, because both sides have stuck to the news blackout.” That blackout was imposed at the start of the negotiations on May 31.
The two sides are trying to negotiate a new three-year contract for movies, television and new media. SAG-AFTRA says it will send out a strike authorization referendum unless an agreement is reached by Friday, June 30, when the current contract expires.
The union says an authorization is not a strike, but can be a bargaining tool. Earlier this year, the AMPTP reached a new contract agreement with the Writers’ Guild of America, after 93 percent of that union’s members authorized a walkout.
The union scheduled an informational meeting for members in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening. Deadline.com reports the union briefed agents on the talks earlier in the day.
Actors have not gone on strike since 1980. That walkout lasted three months, and news reports at the time cited industry observers as saying it cost the industry $40 million a week.
Currently, SAG-AFTRA members are already striking against nearly a dozen video game producers, including Disney, Electronic Arts and Activision. That walkout began on October 21, 2016.