The union representing over 160,000 film and TV actors has voted to authorize a potential strike over pay and renewed contracts.
It comes two days before the scheduled negotiations for a new labor deal with Hollywood studios.
98 percent of the SAG-AFTRA has voted in favor of a strike, which came amidst the sixth week of a writers’ strike.
It also happened a day after the Directors Guild of America tentatively agreed to a new contract.
Fran Drescher, the president of the actors’ union, expressed unity and determination.
He said: “Together we lock elbows, and in unity we build a new contract that honors our contributions… and brings ALL our concerns for protections and benefits into the now!”
Approximately 65,000 members participated in the vote, representing 48 percent of eligible voters.
The current agreement between the actors’ union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, negotiating on behalf of the studios, is set to expire on June 30.
The actors’ demands align with those of the Writers Guild of America, including higher wages and increased residual payments for streaming content.
They also demand safeguards against the unauthorized use of actors’ likenesses by artificial intelligence.
While the Directors Guild reached an agreement acknowledging the limitations of generative AI and the irreplaceability of their members’ duties, specifics were not disclosed.
Need Career Advice? Get employment skills advice at all levels of your career
The actors’ last strike occurred in 2000 during a dispute over commercial pay, lasting nearly six months.
Negotiations are scheduled to commence on Wednesday, and SAG-AFTRA sees the strike authorization as a position of strength.
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union’s chief negotiator, emphasized their willingness to make a deal but insisted on securing what their members deserve.
He stated, “If a strike is necessary to achieve that, we’re prepared.”
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers intended to negotiate a new agreement that benefits both SAG-AFTRA members and the industry.