A strike of prospective actors has been called off. SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP have yet to reach a tentative agreement on a new minimum bargaining agreement ahead of their current contract expiring on June 30, but the two sides have agreed to extend the current contract and continue negotiations beyond the deadline.
Both organizations representing the actors and the studios announced on Friday that the contract that was due to expire at midnight tonight will now expire on July 12 at 11:59 p.m. PT.
So while SAG-AFTRA currently has the power to call a strike, the guild leaders will remain at the negotiating table for now in an effort to reach a new deal. The guild and AMPTP will continue to operate under a media blackout until then.
“In order to exhaust any opportunity to obtain the just contract that we all demand and deserve, it has been unanimously decided after careful deliberation to allow additional time to negotiate by extending the contract,” SAG-Negotiating Committee members said. AFTRA in one open letter. “No one should mistake this extension for weakness. We see you. We hear you. We are you.”
Negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP started on 7 June. Before negotiations began, members approved a vote to authorize the strike with nearly 98% of participating members saying they would be willing to participate in pickets, which gave SAG-AFTRA additional leverage as it entered the talks. Most recently, over 2000 actors signed a letter he targeted the SAG leadership by stating that they were both willing to strike and willing to “make sacrifices that the leadership is not” to secure a transformative deal.
While many items on the negotiating agenda were not disclosed, the guild is fighting for better residuals, higher minimum wages and regulations on self-registered auditions, as well as barriers to the use of AI.
The actors last went on strike against the studios in 1980 for three months and three days in a scuffle over home video leftovers, one that shut down film and television production and even saw actors boycott the Emmys.
Writers striking out as part of the WGA will have to wait a little longer to see if SAG-AFTRA joins them in the pickets. The Writers Guild has been on strike for two months since May 1, where development has been halted, production of many new shows and movies has been temporarily or indefinitely halted until the strike is over, and many writers and showrunners have seen their deals overall with studies suspended.
The DGA, or Directors Guild of America, reached its tentative agreement with the studios on June 4, and despite some vocal dissent from some hyphenated writer-directors, DGA members officially ratified the new agreement on June 23. June with 87% of the 6,728 members voting choosing to ratify it.