SAG-AFTRA President actress Fran Drescher, SAG-AFTRA secretary-treasurer actress Joely Fisher, and National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, joined by SAG-AFTRA members, hold a press conference at the labor union's headquarters in Los Angeles on July 13, 2023. (Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, Calif.—Negotiations between Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and Hollywood’s studios will resume Oct. 24 in another effort to end the crippling strike that began July 14, the actors union announced.
“As we mark the 100th day of our strike, we are pleased to confirm the company executives have asked us to return to the table. Official Negotiations will resume on Tuesday, October 24th,” the union posted Saturday on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“It is clear that the strength and solidarity shown by our members has sent an unmistakable message to the CEOs. As we have repeatedly said, we are ready, willing and able to engage on a moment’s notice to meet and to work across the table to achieve a deal that is worthy of your sacrifice. In the coming days, there will likely be a lot of interest and potentially noise surrounding our talks. Do not believe anything you hear until it comes from us.”
The sides are battling over complex and contentious issues including compensation for streamed content and the use of artificial intelligence.
SAG-AFTRA members returned to the picket lines last week amid calls from union president Fran Drescher and other entertainment industry union leaders for negotiations to resume “immediately.”
Ms. Drescher slammed the major studios for suspending contract talks with striking actors. The call for a resumption of negotiations was echoed by leaders of various Hollywood unions who issued a joint statement demanding an immediate return to the bargaining table.
The joint statement came from the Writers Guild of America’s West and East branches, the Directors Guild of America, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the American Federation of Musicians, the Teamsters and Hollywood Basic Crafts.
It came two days after negotiations broke down Oct. 11, with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers suspending the talks and issuing a statement saying, “After meaningful conversations, it is clear that the gap between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA is too great, and conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction.”
A key issue was a SAG-AFTRA proposal for a 75 cents per subscriber annual charge as part of a revenue sharing plan with the studios, which Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos called a “levy on subscribers” and a “bridge too far.”
But it was the studio bosses, which have included Mr. Sarandos, Disney’s Bob Iger, Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav and NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley sitting in on negotiations, who asked that the talks resume, Deadline.com reported.
The two sides have met five times since Oct. 2, their first talks since the SAG-AFTRA strike began July 14.
The actors union demands include general wage increases, protections against the use of actor images through artificial intelligence, boosts in compensation for successful streaming programs, and improvements in health and retirement benefits.
The Writers Guild of America ended its strike against the studios on Sept. 27. Members of the WGA later ratified the agreement to end their strike, which began on May 2.