Search icon

Movies & TV

01st Jul 2023

Hollywood just came within hours of shutdown but actors strike still looms

Simon Kelly

Actors Union extend talks before potential strike action

Hollywood could still come to a standstill this month.

The US actors union and Hollywood studios announced in a statement on Friday that both sides have agreed to extend their current labour deal until July 12.

The announcement came hours before a midnight deadline on July 1, which could have seen the SAG-AFTRA union potentially strike alongside their writing counterparts.

The union’s demands circle around safeguards against artificial intelligence, raising wage floors, increasing streaming residuals, self-taped audition regulations and protecting health, retirement and pension plans.

If the two parties can’t reach an agreement by 11:59pm on July 12, the actors union can still call a strike.

If that does happen, it would be the first strike targeting major film and television companies in four decades. It would also represent the first two-union strike in the industry in more than six decades.

Any potential strike would also pretty much bring Hollywood to a complete standstill, as the ongoing writers strike is close to entering its third month, with no end in sight.

In a vote last month, nearly 98% of 65,000 SAG-AFTRA members voted in favour of a strike if negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) fail to produce a satisfactory outcome.

Major actors call for union leaders not to compromise

Big name actors including Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Ben Stiller and Neil Patrick Harris signed a letter last week urging union leadership to remain strong and not to settle for compromises.

“This is an unprecedented inflection point in our industry, and what might be considered a good deal in any other years is simply not enough,” the letter read, first reported by Rolling Stone.

“We feel that our wages, our craft, our creative freedom, and the power of our union have all been undermined in the last decade. We need to reverse those trajectories”

Both writers and actors unions have all shown solidarity for each other throughout the writers strike. Actors like Colin Farrell and James Cromwell have all used their voices to spread awareness to the plight of writers, with the former even showing up at the picket line in May.

Related articles:

LISTEN: You Must Be Jokin’ with Aideen McQueen – Faith healers, Coolock craic and Gigging as Gaeilge