SAG-AFTRA strike looms as union and studios meet with federal mediators

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(LOS ANGELES) — The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) is expected to strike at midnight PT if a deal between the union and studios isn’t agreed upon, a move that could incapacitate Hollywood productions.

The major unions in Hollywood issued a joint statement Wednesday on their “unwavering support and solidarity” of SAG-AFTRA, including the Writers Guild of America, who have been on strike for more than two months with no sign of progress.

“Hollywood must be a place where every worker, on-screen and off, is treated according to the value their skills and talents command,” International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Teamsters, Hollywood Basic Crafts, the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the Writers Guild of America East and the Writers Guild of America West said in their statement.

The group added, “While the studios have collective worth of trillions of dollars, billions of viewers globally, and sky-high profits, this fight is not about actors against the studios, but rather about workers across all crafts and departments in the industry standing together to prevent mega-corporations from eroding the conditions we fought decades to achieve.”

The current SAG-AFTRA contract is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. PT Wednesday. The contract was originally going to expire on June 30 but was extended after SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) reached an agreement.

Union leaders and the AMPTP agreed on Tuesday to meet with federal mediators to possibly hammer out a deal before the current contract expires, according to SAG-AFTRA.

“We will not be distracted from negotiating in good faith to secure a fair and just deal by the expiration of our agreement,” SAG-AFTRA said in a statement. “We are committed to the negotiating process and will explore and exhaust every possible opportunity to make a deal, however, we are not confident that the employers have any intention of bargaining toward an agreement.”

If a deal isn’t reached between the groups, then a strike is likely. In June, 98% of members agreed to authorize a strike if an agreement isn’t reached, SAG-AFTRA said.

There are 160,000 members of SAG-AFTRA and over 11,000 members of the Writers Guild of America.

The unending writers’ strike, which began in May, is costing California’s economy $30 million a day, according to Deadline.

Writers are demanding that studios pay them accordingly as shifting into streaming has changed the way shows are made and monetized.

In a pre-strike protest in front of Netflix offices on Wednesday, actors told ABC News they are trying to get by financially and contracts have not kept pace with inflation.

Their biggest concerns are streaming residuals, the impact of AI technology and making more money.

“I think most people don’t understand that most actors don’t make millions of dollars. A lot of us are struggling to eat and pay rent,” John Jared, a SAG-AFTRA member for three years, told ABC News.

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