Didn’t we tell you this wasn’t over? The DGA might have come to an agreement, but SAG-AFTRA is proving they mean business. In a vote from sixty-five thousand eligible members, SAG-AFTRA has authorized a work stoppage strike should the AMPTP refuse their demands. The 97.91% YES vote is nearly the same as what the WGA had. If it does come to it, this will be the first time in the two guilds’ history they have been on strike at the same time.
SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher (yes, the same Fran Drescher of “The Nanny“) says of the actions of all who voted, and even those who couldn’t, a huge achievement. “I’m proud of all of you who voted as well as those who were vocally supportive, even if unable to vote. Everyone played a part in this achievement. Together we lock elbows and in unity we build a new contract that honors our contributions in this remarkable industry, reflects the new digital and streaming business model and brings ALL our concerns for protections and benefits into the now! Bravo SAG-AFTRA, we are in it to win it.”
These votes come in not a moment too soon. SAG-AFTRA union heads heavily encouraged “yes” votes as the union needed a bit of ammunition. There’s very little time to negotiate. June 7th is when SAG-AFTRA’s TV/theatrical contracts expire. So the vote to strike is now a fully agreed-upon option should the short negotiating window go poorly. “It’s better to have and not need than need and not have.” Drescher, who says the plan was to be prepared when going into talks, said.
In a surprising show of solidarity, it was the union member leaders who authorized the strike and encouraged yes votes. The landscape of employment in the entertainment industry needs some serious reconstruction. Many contracts haven’t changed for years and don’t cover the changes streaming have caused. While those at the top continue to earn big without caring about what happens below them. Time their ivory towers got shaken a bit.