Contract negotiations began Wednesday between representatives of the SAG-AFTRA actors union and Hollywood producers.
Neither side will not comment to the media about the talks during the process, according to a joint statement from the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios, television networks and streaming services.
SAG-AFTRA’s current contract with the AMPTP expires at midnight June 30.
Union members have overwhelmingly authorized their national board to call a strike if it is deemed necessary.
“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 released Monday in connection with the announcement of results of the strike authorization vote.
“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.”
SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said he “could not be more pleased with this response from the membership.”
“This overwhelming yes vote is a clear statement that it’s time for an evolution in this contract,” Crabtree-Ireland said in a statement Monday. “As we enter what may be one of the most consequential negotiations in the union’s history, inflation, dwindling residuals due to streaming, and generative AI (artificial intelligence) all threaten actors’ ability to earn a livelihood if our contracts are not adapted to reflect the new realities.
“This strike authorization means we enter our negotiations from a position of strength, so that we can deliver the deal our members want and deserve.”
SAG-AFTRA represents more than 160,000 entertainment and media professionals.