A historic strike has been called in Hollywood, with the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) joining the Writers Guild of America (WGA) on the picket lines. It’s the first “double strike” since 1960. The work stoppage will begin at midnight tonight.
“We are the victims here,” SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher said during a press conference on Thursday. “We are being victimized by a very greedy entity. I am shocked by the way the people that we have been in business with are treating us.” She added, “You cannot change the business model as much as it has changed and not expect the contact to change, too.”
Heading into negotiations last month, Hollywood performers were looking to improve wages, working conditions and health and pension benefits, as well as create guardrails for the use of artificial intelligence in future television and film productions. Additionally, the union is seeking more transparency from streaming services about viewership so that residual payments can be made equitable to that seen on linear TV.
“The eyes of the world and particularly the eyes of labor are upon us,” Drescher said. What happens here is important because what is happening to us is happening across all fields of labor.” Meanwhile, Hollywood executives — especially the ones making millions in bonuses every year (so, most of them) — have sided not with the writers or performers, but with greed.