Union News

Hollywood Labor Unions Show Support For SAG-AFTRA Amid Suspended Negotiations, Urge Studios To “Make Meaningful Moves” Toward Contract

SAG-AFTRA members and supporters picket outside Netflix studios
Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Hollywood labor unions are standing in collective solidarity with SAG-AFTRA after the guild’s latest negotiations with the studios went south this week.

“Our members work side-by-side for the same handful of employers, and our unions and guilds collectively stand more united than ever,” read a joint statement issued Friday from the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW), Writers Guild of America East (WGAE), Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), American Federation of Musicians (AFM), Teamsters, and Hollywood Basic Crafts.

“Each day a fair contract addressing actors’ unique priorities is delayed is another day working professionals across our industry suffer unnecessarily. At this point, it should be clear to the studios and the AMPTP that more is needed than proposals which merely replicate the terms negotiated with other unions,” the statement continued.

“We collectively demand the AMPTP resumes negotiations in good faith immediately, make meaningful moves at the negotiating table with SAG-AFTRA to address performers’ specific needs, and make the fair deal they deserve.”

On Wednesday, the AMPTP declared that talks with SAG-AFTRA had been “suspended,” less than two weeks after the studios returned to the negotiating table with the guild. The studios collectively insisted that it was “clear that the gap between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA is too great, and conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction.”

It didn’t take long for SAG-AFTRA to issue a statement of its own, accusing the AMPTP of “bully tactics” and “the same failed strategy they tried to inflict on the WGA” to cripple the deliberations.

On the picket lines Thursday, SAG-AFTRA‘s Duncan Crabtree-Ireland expressed his frustration over the latest stall in negotiations. According to the national executive director, negotiations on Wednesday had not seemed to be headed toward a pause.

“It wasn’t until later in the evening, I started getting calls from CEOs and Carol Lombardini that they decided to cancel our scheduled session for today and that they weren’t planning to return to the table,” he told Deadline. “So at this moment, I do not understand why they think that’s a way to move this process forward, why they think that that’s going to help bring them back to health. It’s very, very disappointing.”

Hollywood’s long, contentious writers’ strike has ended.

The longest labor strike in Hollywood history is ending. Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

The longest labor strike in Hollywood history is ending. Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

Late in the day on Sunday, September 24 — after 146 days of labor stoppage, the second-longest strike in Hollywood history — the Writers Guild of America (WGA), which represents Hollywood’s writers, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), an association of Hollywood’s largest studios and production companies, announced that an agreement had been reached. On Tuesday, September 26, the union’s leadership announced that they’d voted to end the strike and recommended the membership vote in favor of ratifying the contract.

The strike officially ended in the wee hours of Wednesday, September 27, after 148 days, and the union’s membership will begin their vote on Monday, October 2. For many, this moment is one for celebration. President Joe Biden, who is set to join striking auto workers on their picket line on Tuesday, issued a statement applauding the writers’ tentative deal. “There simply is no substitute for employers and employees coming together to negotiate in good faith toward an agreement that makes a business stronger and secures the pay, benefits, and dignity that workers deserve,” he said.