The Hollywood Actors’ Union is extending contract terms, delaying a possible strike while talks continue

Los Angeles – Big Hollywood stars gave writers on the picket a big boost this week.

“Your fight is our fight,” actress Jane Fonda said Thursday during a rally outside Netflix’s Los Angeles headquarters.

While Writers Guild of America strike Soon entering its third month, Fonda and other members of SAG-AFTRA – the union representing thousands of actors in film and television – could soon join them, a move that would likely lead to the shutdown of nearly all Hollywood productions.

SAG-AFTRA has approximately 160,000 members while the WGA has approximately 11,000.

Jane Fonda is on strike in Hollywood
Actress Jane Fonda speaks during a “Striking 9 to 5” picket line in front of Netflix headquarters in Los Angeles, California on June 29, 2023.

Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

SAG-AFTRA’s current contract was due to expire at midnight on Friday. However, on Friday night SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the group representing the major studios, agreed to extend their contract until midnight on July 12 to continue their talks.

“The parties will continue negotiations under a mutually agreed media blackout,” both sides said in a joint statement.

Earlier this month, members of SAG-AFTRA voted overwhelmingly to approve a possible strike in case no agreement can be reached with the major studios.

“This is a huge thing for Hollywood right now, with in turn huge implications,” Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore, told CBS News ahead of the renewal.

Should that happen, it would be the first Screen Actors Guild strike since 2000 and the first time since 1960 that both the WGA and the Screen Actors Guild have gone on strike at the same time. The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists merged in 2012.

Both unions are negotiating separately with the AMPTP, which represents Warner Bros. Discovery, NBC Universal, Sony, Netflix and CBS News’ parent company, Paramount.

A big sticking point in the negotiations was streaming. Hollywood unions claim that major platforms are raking in billions in revenue while actors and writers are being paid less and their remaining balances dried up.

“In the past, the money that actors and writers made was pretty straight forward, robust and fair,” Dergarabedian said. “But now, with streaming, it’s a different model. And I think everyone is struggling to cope with these new financial and technological advances.”

The usage of artificial intelligence is another major issue that many in the entertainment industry see as an existential threat to their very existence.

“I think because it’s moving so fast, because it seems to have great potential to change the way this industry works and the role of the key creative minds in the industry,” Dergarabedian said.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator, raised those concerns in an interview with CBS News last week.

“This potential to use this technology to create performances that never were, or even to create artists that never were, and that could pose a real threat,” Crabtree-Ireland said.

Hundreds of actors, including Jennifer Lawrence, Quinta Brunson and Rami Malek, signed a letter earlier this week urging SAG-AFTRA leadership to “make clear our determination” that “we stand ready to strike when it does.” comes to that.”

In a video message to members last week, SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said the negotiations had been “extremely productive” and “we will reach a landmark agreement”.

“I think the entire industry is in overdrive right now,” Dergarabedian said. “But we just have to wait and see.”

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