A-list actors talk up the need to strike over key issues

The Hollywood sign
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Over 300 major names in the acting business have signed a letter sent to their union, urging them to not to capitulate. 

We have just a couple more days left in June and that means, SAG-AFTRA, the US actors union has just a couple more days left to strike a deal with the American Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Whilst ongoing negotiations happen behind closed doors, SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher released a video the other day which was likely meant to reassure its members that things were going well.

In the video she states “we are having an [sic] extremely productive negotiations that are laser-focused on all of the crucial issues you told us are most important to you. We’re standing strong and we are going to achieve a seminal deal.”

Whatever the intention, this doesn’t seem to have eased the minds of the A-list acting community. In fact, over 300 of them have responded by signing a letter that urges the union not to capitulate on any of the key issues that are being discussed. Those issues include pay, working conditions and the use of artificial intelligence to ‘replace’ actors.

Luminaries such as Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Rami Malek, Quinta Brunson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ben Stiller, Neil Patrick Harris, Amy Schumer, and Amy Poehler have all reportedly added their names to the letter which states:

“We hope you’ve heard the message from us: This is an unprecedented inflection point in our industry, and what might be considered a good deal in any other years is simply not enough. 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.”

From where we’re sitting, it looks like the acting community is afraid that the deal with the AMPTP might be going down a similar route to the one the producers struck with the Directors Guild of America recently. Whilst the DGA itself proclaimed the deal to be a wonderful one, many directors felt key issues weren’t fully dealt with. However, because it was agreed by the union itself, it ended up being ratified.

One thing’s for sure: the AMPTP will want to avoid an actor’s strike as that will send Hollywood into a spiral that it can ill afford right now. Dressher’s comment suggests that a deal may well be struck between both parties by the time the 30th rolls around.

If that’s the case those 300 A-list actors will have to mobilise all of their charm and star appeal to persuade the guild’s 160,000 members to vote against it should they disagree with terms of the deal. The next week is going to be an interesting one in Hollywood, that’s for sure.

Rolling Stone

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