Following the news that the studios have withdrawn from negotiations to end the actor’s strike over a request by the SAG-AFTRA union to get 2% of all streaming revenue from platforms like Disney+, Hulu and Netflix to share among the actors. Many of the biggest names in Hollywood, including George Clooney, Emma Stone, Ben Affleck, Tyler Perry and Scarlett Johansson, met with SAG leaders, including Fran Drescher and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, to discuss an alternative option to try to end the actor’s strike.
The proposal was to eliminate the cap on membership dues, to increase the union’s revenue to provide health benefits and more to its lower-paid members. The new offer would remove the $1 million cap on membership dues, which would bring in over $150 million over three years.
SAG-AFTRA has issued a response to the news of this offer, which can be read below:
Dear SAG-AFTRA members,
In this time of adversity and hardship, our unwavering solidarity, along with that of our sister union members, is truly inspiring. For 98 days, we’ve stood strong, united in our pursuit of justice, fairness, and the value we bring to the industry. The WGA triumphed after 148 hard-fought days, proof that perseverance will break the toughest barriers and result in the transformative change we need to justify everyone’s sacrifices.
The AMPTP continues to attempt to sow division amongst us, misrepresenting our proposals and trying to manipulate public sentiment. Yet, even as they walked away, we all remained steadfast, refusing to be swayed by anything less than what we rightfully deserve.
We’re grateful that a few of our most successful members have engaged to offer ideas and support. Beyond donating extraordinary sums of money to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation in support of members during the strike, these influential individuals have sought to offer suggestions, in particular with regard to our streaming sharing proposal and the AMPTP’s characterization that we are asking for too much. They have contemplated increasing the amount of money that the highest earners contribute to the union via raising their dues.
This generous concept is worthy of consideration, but it is in no way related to and would have no bearing on this present contract or even as a subject of collective bargaining. It is, in fact, prohibited by Federal labor law. For example, our Pension and Health plans are funded exclusively from employer contributions. It also doesn’t speak to the scale of the overall package.
Having said that, their creativity and earnest desire to help solve the impasse are very much appreciated. It is worth noting that the union has a very robust process to include the concerns of every member.
The fact that the heads of the networks, streaming companies and studios are open to communicating with them directly is great. But, the executives should not for one second think that they can use the good will of member emissaries to distract us from our mission.
We are not asking for too much. As a faithful bargaining partner, and understanding their stated concerns with our 2% revenue/subscription sharing proposal, we made a calculated adjustment. After several, seemingly constructive sessions, we pivoted from the plan we carefully and responsibly developed over the past year and dropped our ask to 1%. We did so, by restructuring our proposal, tailoring it to address their concerns. They responded by walking out and calling us greedy.
Our revenue/subscription sharing model is only one piece of our overall proposal package. The AMPTP continues to refuse to counter many of our absolutely vital proposals including the minimum wage rates that our membership are on strike to achieve.
So, for now, we encourage all members to champion our full proposal package and get out on the picket line. Throughout the course of this strike, higher profile members have marched and spoken loudly in favor of the Negotiating Committee securing a worthy deal. In that, we are united.
To our fearless strike captains, your resilience is awe-inspiring. The members of the Negotiating Committee were honored to join you this week on the lines to show our appreciation. Your contributions are essential to the success of this strike. With each day, we grow closer to creating a film and television industry where talent can thrive sustainably.
To our industry siblings – AFM, DGA, IATSE, WGA, Teamsters and the Basic Crafts – thank you for standing beside us, a testament to the unwavering bond of unionism, even in the face of shared hardships. We will not forget nor abandon you when it’s your turn at the table.
Let’s be clear: Our call is simple. AMPTP, it’s time to negotiate genuinely, valuing our contributions and solidifying an industry that champions everyone within it. We subsidized the growth of the streaming model with reduced rates and low to non-existent residuals. It’s time to share in the success we’ve helped build.
Just as the WGA weathered the storm, so shall we. Let’s draw strength from one another and trust that our unity will lead us to the contract we deserve.
One day longer. One day stronger. As long as it takes.
With love and in solidarity,
Your SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee
Hopefully, soon, the studios and union will be able to come together to end the actor’s strike, so filming and promotion can continue on the shows and films that we want to watch.
The actor’s union wants a percentage of every streaming service subscription, which the studios have said will cost them $800 million a year in additional costs and that this will become a levy that will be passed onto subscribers. The union says this will be much less than a dollar a year per subscriber, which the studios have said is unrealistic and walked out of the meetings, requesting the actor’s union to rethink its counter offer.
However, it seems the offer by many of the biggest Hollywood actors isn’t going to work, but it also shows how the union members are feeling frustrated with how talks are proceeding and want it to end soon.
Do you think the actor’s union should accept the deal? Let us know on social media!