It is the first time both SAG-AFTRA and the WGA have been on strike at the same time since 1960. The last time SAG members went on strike was in 1980. Actors in New York also picketed the offices of HBO, Amazon, Warner Bros, Netflix, Paramount and NBC Universal on Monday under a hot summer sun.
Actors will not film new projects or promote their films at junkets, premieres, awards shows or conventions during the strike. The contract between the union and the AMPTP, which represents the major film studios, TV networks and streaming giants, expired after negotiators failed to reach an agreement over a number of issues including pay and the use of artificial intelligence (AI). The union said actors face an “existential threat to their livelihoods” with the rise of generative AI technology and the threat of unregulated use.
The issue of pay has also been a key part of negotiations as the advent of streaming has changed the way actors are compensated for their work. In the past they would make money from residuals, where they would be paid based on reruns of their shows and films, but streaming has severely changed this, with actors and writers saying their residuals have plummeted. The union says members are striking for a fairer division of profits, but the AMPTP says negotiators chose to forego “the highest percentage increase in minimums in 35 years” in favor of going on strike.