SAG-AFTRA prepares Hollywood for a strike

Hollywood sign WGA writers strike negotiations
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Brinkmanship at the negotiating table reaches nerve-wracking levels as the union of US actors makes public preparations for a strike. 

Given that SAG-AFTRA is made up of actors, it seems kind of fitting that the long-awaited conclusion to its negotiations with the American Motion Picture  and Television Producers (AMPTP) is oozing the kind of drama and tension that any screen performer would ordinarily enjoy. Of course, this is real life, though, and the impact of a potential actors’ strike would have a devastating effect on their livelihoods and the screen industry, not to mention the lives of the many connected industries that annex it.

The negotiations have already been extended by a fortnight, with that extension running out tomorrow. Commentators have speculated that this indicates SAG-AFTRA is playing hardball and the demands that it has made need to be cleared by higher-ups at the AMPTP. With the clock ticking, the union’s leadership team have ramped up expectations that a strike could happen.

According to Variety, ‘leadership from the performers guild SAG-AFTRA held a conference call with top Hollywood publicity agencies on Monday, bracing the powerful gatekeepers of A-list stars for a strike. The objective of the call, according to sources, was to brief the reps on protocols and how talent can best serve the union if and when a strike takes place.’

Whether this is very public brinkmanship on SAG-AFTRA’s part, or confirmation that negotiations have stalled and a strike is imminent remains to be seen. Whilst the way the AMPTP conducted negotiations with the (currently striking) writers suggested the former wanted a strike action – perhaps as a cost-cutting measure – it seems that it would be very unwise to allow the union of actors to go out on strike as the damage to the industry would be unthinkable.

Either way, we’ll know tomorrow and as sure as we are that the AMPTP will find a way to appease SAG-AFTRA, the 160,000 members of the acting union (in public at least) seem to be hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. We’ll bring you more on this as it unfolds.

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