As studio leaders grapple with the ongoing writers’ strike, they may soon have a new problem—an actor strike.
- The Screen Actors Guild—American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if ongoing contract negotiations fall through.
- The guild represents more than 160,000 actors.
- Around 98% of the members supported a strike, according to a statement from the union.
- On June 7, the actors’ union is set to start negotiating a new contract that will expire at the end of the month.
- If negotiations fail, the actors will likely join the currently striking writers.
Why it’s news
The writers’ strike has already brought Hollywood to a standstill, but the threat of an actor strike could make the situation more difficult for studio executives. The writers have been on strike since May 2, pausing most new material.
Writers’ negotiations are caught up on disagreements over compensation related to streaming services and the use of artificial intelligence in scriptwriting. Already the strike has disrupted late-night television and indefinitely postponed big projects like the latest season of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and a “Game of Thrones” spinoff.
Studios avoided another potential disaster over the weekend after reaching a tentative agreement with the Directors Guild of America, though union members still have to vote on the deal.
As the actors begin negotiations, there is more at stake for studios. The writers’ strike is putting pressure on executives, but the added strain of an actor strike would be significant. Some shows that already have scripts for their season will be able to continue shooting over the summer, preventing a complete media shutdown. However, if the actors were to strike alongside the writers, there would be little to no new media on television.
Actors are looking for higher pay and better protections against the unauthorized use of their likenesses, particularly regarding artificial intelligence. The current contract actors hold through SAG-AFTRA expires on June 30.