Deadline for Hollywood actors negotiations with studio passes with no word on strike

The last time both the actors union and writers guild went on strike simultaneously was in 1960.

Rob Hayes Image
Thursday, July 13, 2023
SAG- AFTRA inches closer to strike that could cripple Hollywood
More than two months into the Writers Guild of America strike, Hollywood's actors union is poised to strike as well.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A deadline for Hollywood actors to reach a deal with studios and streaming services passed Thursday without word on whether a strike will be called.

The Screen Actors Guild -American Federation of Television and Radio Artists had set a deadline for 11:59 p.m. Wednesday for a deal to be reached. Just after midnight Thursday, no update had been announced.

If the actors strike, they will formally join screenwriters on the picket lines outside studios and filming locations in a bid to get better terms from studios and streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon. It would be the first time since 1960 that the two guilds are on strike at the same time.

"They're taking a strike threat to the negotiating table," said Adam Conover, who is a member of both the writers guild and actors union. "That's how you win gains, and if they don't get the deal that we need as actors to make our lives sustainable, they're going to call a strike. If SAG-AFTRA goes on strike as well, that changes everything. So as a SAG-AFTRA member, I'm really excited that our union is fighting hard, that they're taking a strike threat to the negotiating table. That's how you win gains, and if they don't get the deal that we need as actors to make our lives sustainable, they're going to call a strike."

Talks between SAG-AFTRA and the studios have been at a standstill.

On Tuesday, the AMPTP, which represents the studios, called for a federal mediator to step in and help with the talks. SAG-AFTRA agreed to the move, but members still foresee a strike.

"The companies said, 'Why don't we call in a federal mediator and that will buy us a few extra weeks without having a strike,'" said Conover. "'We can keep shooting all those TV shows, those reality shows, all those game shows that SAG-AFTRA covered,' But SAG, to their credit, called their bluff and said, 'Sure you can call in a mediator, but we're not going to be extending the deadline.'"

Both the actors and writers unions are demanding better payments for streaming platforms and limits on the use of artificial intelligence.

The AMPTP has already reached a three-year contract deal with the Directors Guild of America. The pact was overwhelmingly ratified by DGA members on June 24.

The DGA-AMPTP deal includes a 12.5% salary increase over a three-year period for directors, plus a "substantial" increase in residuals for streaming content -- including a 76% increase in foreign residuals for the largest platforms and mutual confirmation that artificial intelligence is not a person and cannot replace the duties performed by DGA members.

That deal came after less than a month of negotiations, ahead of a June 30 expiration of the DGA's previous contract

City News Service, Inc. and AP contributed to this report.