New Delhi: In a historic move, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in Los Angeles has initiated a strike, causing a massive shutdown in the Hollywood industry, marking the largest strike in the past four decades.
The primary objective of the strike is to compel streaming giants to address the demands put forth by the union, which include fair profit sharing and improved working conditions for actors.
Over 160,000 performers have joined the picket line, joining forces with the ongoing strike by writers fighting for similar rights and better treatment in the industry.
A satisfactory agreement could not be reached despite last-minute negotiations, leading to the decision to go on strike. The actors are advocating for better pay, enhanced working conditions, and assurances from streaming services that artificial intelligence and computer-generated faces and voices will not replace human actors.
Director Christopher Nolan confirmed that stars Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt left the Oppenheimer premiere in response to the commencement of the strike.
During a news conference held in California, the executive director and chief negotiator of the union emphasized that the strike is “an instrument of last resort,” stating, “They’ve left us with no alternative.”
Negotiations between the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and major studios reached an impasse, leading to a unanimous vote by the union’s negotiating committee in favor of strike action.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), representing the studios, expressed disappointment over the breakdown of talks. They acknowledged that “a strike is certainly not the outcome we hoped for as studios cannot operate without the performers that bring our TV shows and films to life.” The statement further highlighted the potential financial hardships numerous individuals dependent on the industry may face.
In a separate ongoing strike since May 2, the Writers Guild of America has demanded better pay and improved working conditions. Some writers have resorted to non-contracted gig economy projects for employment during this period.
The occurrence of simultaneous strikes by both unions has been unprecedented since 1960, during the leadership of actor and former US President Ronald Reagan within the SAG.