Hollywood actors are starting to prepare for picket planning should negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) end in a stalemate, Deadline is reporting. If a deal can’t be reached, the actors will enter a strike alongside screenwriters in the WGA.
The news comes after SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP agreed this past Friday to extend the 2020 TV/Theatrical contracts by a week, until midnight PT this Wednesday, July 12. The guilds agreed to extend their current film and TV contract to allow bargaining on a new deal to continue. Talks between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP continued this past weekend and on Monday, before the Fourth of July holiday.
Actors are reportedly working on picket signs and ordering T-shirts, and putting together a list of lot captains and coordinators. The WGA captains and coordinators have been spearheading the logistics of the writers strike, which is now on its 66th day. They’re organizing each day’s actions outside studios in both Los Angeles and New York City.
SAG-AFTRA has not yet to officially reached out to the WGA to seek help in its planning and logistics for its potential strike. However, a number of WGA members have reportedly offered to help SAG-AFTRA captains and coordinators should the actors guild decides to strike. SAG-AFTRA members are also expected to join the WGA at established studio picket sites, which would require the writers to also add one more staffer at each location.
Ninety-eight percent of SAG-AFTRA members voted in favor of authorizing a strike if leadership fails to reach an acceptable deal. If the guild does ultimately agree to strike, it’s expected to begin picketing on the morning of Thursday, July 13.
SAG-AFTRA also reportedly sent its members an email over the July 4th weekend, which asked them to join the pickets yesterday at CBS Radford. The event is said to have resulted in a large turnout.
Staff from the actors guild arrived at the site to set up its own table alongside the WGA, but didn’t alert the writers about their plans in advance. However, the WGA eagerly welcomed SAG-AFTRA members.
A strike between the Writers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild has occurred in the past, before SAG merged with AFTRA in 2012. In 1960, the WGA was in the midst of a five-month strike when SAG president Ronald Regan called for the actors guild’s own strike.
Oscar winners Meryl Streep, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence, as well as Emmy winners Amy Schumer and Ben Stiller, were among 300 members that urged SAG-AFTRA to stand strong to ensure better compensation. The group has signed a letter expressing their concern.
SAG-AFTRA released its own open letter on Friday to its members. In the letter, the guild stated that negotiations have been ongoing for a comprehensive and inclusive contract.
“No one should mistake this extension for weakness. We see you. We hear you. We are you,” the letter also noted.
“We want you to know that we would rather go on strike than compromise on these fundamental points, and we believe that, if we settle for a less than transformative deal, the future of our union and our craft will be undermined, and SAG-AFTRA will enter the next negotiation with drastically reduced leverage,” the letter added.