This week marks the fourth week of our TV/Theatrical/Streaming strike.
We are living in a historic hour, as we fight to achieve a seminal contract, the likes of which we haven’t seen in over 60 years. It was 1960 when we last went on strike alongside the WGA and achieved pension and health plans and residuals. Our futures depend on not accepting anything less transformative in this negotiation.
With the advent of subscription and advertising-supported streaming video on demand and AI, once again we must stand strong in solidarity and demand an equitable contract that reflects the value of our work in those new business models and protects our members from digital exploitation.
When we called the strike — authorized by you, our members, with 98% approval — we did so knowing that we had done everything possible to avoid it, including extending negotiations for 12 days, the longest in our union’s history. The AMPTP — the organization that bargains on behalf of the studios, networks and streamers — refused to negotiate with us fairly, and have not contacted us to resume talks.
We find ourselves on the front lines of a global labor movement. We are not alone. There are millions of workers across the nation and around the world fighting similar battles against corporate greed who are standing with us in solidarity. It is clear from your show of force on the picket lines, your social media posts and the many interviews we have seen, that our cause is righteous. Your determination will carry us to victory.
A key element in our strike strategy is our Interim Agreement, which is being granted to certain vetted and truly independent productions. Along with the many other nonstruck contracts our members can currently work, these agreements give journeymen performers and crew the opportunity to pay their bills and put food on the table by working on these indie projects — projects which are not only agreeing to all the terms in our last offer to the AMPTP, but all the righteous proposals our members deserve that the studios rejected.
Our interim agreements are quite literally the opposite of “waivers.” There are no passes, exceptions or exemptions being given to anyone. Productions must agree to all our terms or that work is struck.
These agreements are also designed to undermine the production slates and timing of the AMPTP companies and ensure that they come back to the table. Until they do, they will not be able to distribute content made under our Interim Agreement without paying our members in those projects higher residuals and revenue share. This approach maintains our strength, solidarity and upper hand with the AMPTP until they yield to our deal.
These interim agreements demonstrate that the terms we proposed to the AMPTP are not “unrealistic.” They are fair. And if these independent productions are able to agree to them, then the billion- and trillion-dollar companies should be able to as well!
From L.A. to New York and all of the locals across the country, we want to thank you for showing your #SAGAFTRAstrong solidarity over the past four weeks! And to the strike captains leading the pickets every day, you are truly rock stars! Be sure to visit sagaftrastrike.org for the latest news, picket lines and events near you.
Our strike can become the catalyst for a historic culture change in all industries, whereby making money and doing the right thing on behalf of workers are no longer mutually exclusive of each other but go hand in hand, redefining the meaning of success!