The SAG-AFTRA union, which represents Hollywood actors, is set to strike for the first time since 1980 after failing to reach a new labor agreement with major studios.
A work stoppage by actors would mark the first time in 63 years that Hollywood has two unions on strike simultaneously, bringing the industry to a screeching halt.
A strike by Hollywood’s largest labor union, which has a total of 160,000 members, will shut down all scripted film and television productions, many of which have already been halted during the writers’ strike.
This protest movement should begin after the votes of the National Council of SAG-AFTRA, scheduled for this Thursday, January 13.
A federal mediator was called in at the last minute to try to resolve the differences, but the union announced Wednesday that SAG-AFTRA’s contracts for television, film and streaming had expired without reaching an agreement.
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The last time the actors’ and screenwriters’ unions went on strike was in 1960, when the SAG was led by Ronald Reagan.
At that time, both unions were on strike to get paid for films that were licensed or sold on television.
The current point of contention is how much actors will have to earn when their shows and movies are screened by streaming services.
The rise of Netflix and other streamers has upended decades-old business practices that have led workers to believe that the current Hollywood model is no longer suited to the new situation.
Streaming has proven to be far less lucrative than expected, prompting investors to cut spending. This has put pressure on workers, while CEOs are still receiving 10-figure salaries.
Additionally, the rapid growth of artificial intelligence has caused panic among screenwriters and actors that their work could be replaced or duplicated by machines.
SAG-AFTRA represents more than just film and television actors. The industry’s largest union includes television journalists, performing artists, stunt performers, radio personalities and models.