The entertainment industry was able to avoid another strike, for the moment, at least. The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) announced on Friday (June 30) that the actors union has agreed to an extension of its current TV and theatrical contracts with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which were previously set to expire on June 30 at 11:59 PM PST.
The deadline has now been pushed back to July 12, putting any potential strike on hold for the moment. The AMPTP now has until that date to negotiate a new deal with the union.
SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP have agreed to an extension of the 2020 TV/Theatrical Contracts. The agreements will now expire on July 12, at 11:59 pm PT. The parties will continue to negotiate under a mutually agreed upon media blackout.https://t.co/k7YYwUcmjs
— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) July 1, 2023
SAG-AFTRA And AMPTP Agree On Contract Extension And Continuing Negotiations
The current deadline following the extension is July 12 at 11:59 PM PST. Per SAG-AFTRA’s announcement, both parties will continue their negotiations “under a mutually agreed upon media blackout.” SAG-AFTRA’s announcement notes, “Neither organization will comment to the media about the negotiations during the extension.”
The organization issued the announcement just hours before the original contract was slated to expire. As previously reported by The Blast, eligible members of the union had previously voted 98% overwhelmingly in favor of a strike authorization ahead of SAG-AFTRA beginning negotiations with the AMPTP. The vote gave SAG-AFTRA’s National Board the authority to call for a strike if a new contract with the AMPTP was not signed by the deadline.
The National Board will not be calling for a strike for now with the new contract extension in effect, and it looks like they will not be making any further comments to the media either. A strike could still potentially happen if a new deal is not signed with the AMPTP during this extended negotiation period. According to The Hollywood Reporter, negotiations between both sides are reportedly set to continue on Saturday (July 1).
Today’s announcement follows a video that was released last weekend to members and shared on the organization’s YouTube channel. In the video, union president Fran Drescher (TV’s “The Nanny”) and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland called negotiations “extremely productive.” Drescher also stated, “We’re standing strong and we’re going to achieve a seminal deal.”
Not long after the video was released, THR reports that hundreds of high-profile talents in SAG-AFTRA signed a letter informing their leadership that they are ready and prepared for a strike in order to achieve a “transformative deal.” The letter was signed by such top stars as Meryl Streep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Jennifer Lawrence. The letter also expressed concerns that members of the union are currently “ready to make sacrifices that leadership is not.” The letter added, “We feel that our wages, our craft, our creative freedom, and the power of our union have all been undermined in the last decade. We need to reverse those trajectories.”
SAG-AFTRA is made up of 160,000 performers. With the current negotiations, the organization is looking for protections for its members around generative artificial intelligence, raising wage floors, increasing streaming residuals, more regulations for self-taped auditions, and the protection of the union’s health, retirement, and pension plans.
Currently, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) is in the midst of a labor strike against the AMPTP, and it’s now about to enter its third month.