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Actors guild authorizes strike with contract set to expire at end of month

Actors voting on strike authorization
Hollywood actors voting on strike authorization 04:17

Actors represented by SAG-AFTRA, the labor union that represents film and TV actors, have voted to authorize a strike if a new contract isn't agreed to, the union announced Monday night.

"In a powerful show of solidarity, SAG-AFTRA members have voted 97.91% in favor of a strike authorization ahead of negotiations of the TV/Theatrical Contracts, with nearly 65,000 members casting ballots for a voting percentage of 47.69% of eligible voters," the union said in a statement.

The vote does not mean the actors are on strike, but it empowers the union's board to call a strike if a deal can't be reached. The current contract between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) expires at midnight on June 30 and negotiations are set to begin Wednesday, the union said.

"Together we lock elbows and in unity we build a new contract that honors our contributions in this remarkable industry, reflects the new digital and streaming business model and brings ALL our concerns for protections and benefits into the now! Bravo SAG-AFTRA, we are in it to win it," SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher, known for her role in the sitcom "The Nanny," said in a statement announcing the authorization vote.

SAG-AFTRA national executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said in a statement that some of the union's key concerns are that "inflation, dwindling residuals due to streaming, and generative AI all threaten actors' ability to earn a livelihood if our contracts are not adapted to reflect the new realities."

Hollywood writers are currently striking after the Writers Guild of America and ATPMP could not agree on a new contract. WGA officials have also cited AI and a lack of residuals brought about by the streaming era as major sticking points. That strike began on May 2 and could last for months.

The Directors Guild of America was able to reach a deal on a new contract over the weekend, averting the potential of having all three major Hollywood guilds striking at once.

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