For the first time since 1960, both the Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists are on strike. This is the first dual work stoppage since Ronald Reagan served as president of SAG-AFTRA. The vote by the National Board in Los Angeles was unanimous.
A successor agreement between the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) was not reached as the deadline hit 11:59 PM last night.
The decision immediately shuts down any film and TV productions that were still moving ahead despite the ongoing writers’ strike. Actors will be pulled from any promotional events including movie premieres, film festivals such as The Chicago International Film Festival in November, press junkets and fan events like Fan-Expo which is held in August.
However, there are some areas that are not affected by the historic strike. According to Union President Fran Drescher and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, members working in interactive entertainment, audiobooks, music, commercials and other contract areas may still do so.
AICP Midwest President, Lisa Masseur, EP/Founder, Tessa Films, told Reel Chicago, “As the AICP Midwest President, I would like to say that we stand by SAG actors who have now joined the WGA on strike against the studios. In the Ad community, we are not bound by studio contracts and we are thankful that the Ad Agencies and Clients who we produce content for can continue to employ SAG actors during this challenging time for all.”
In commercials, SAG-AFTRA actors work under the SAG Commercials Contract, which is negotiated with the Joint Policy Committee (JPC), representing advertising agencies and advertisers. The JPC issued a memo to its signatory members earlier regarding a potential strike and its impact to commercials.
Per the JPC:
“The SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical Contracts is a separate contract from the SAG- AFTRA Commercials Contract and [a strike] will have no impact on Union actors who work in commercials…[T]he Commercials Contract provides for a No-Strike Clause, meaning that any performers hired for work under the Commercials Contracts must continue to work and provide services. In the event of a strike under the TV/Theatrical Contracts…Union members will still be expected to continue their work under the SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract. The JPC does not expect there will be any disruptions to our industry,” adds Stacy Marcus, Chief Negotiator for The Joint Policy Committee, LLC.
Since commercial productions are not being struck or picketed, working on a commercial production is not “crossing the picket line.” Be mindful that operations at film studios will be impacted by picketing as a result of this strike as well as the ongoing writers’ strike.
Commercial productions taking place at studio locations should contact their representative at the studio for more information on the use of studio space and access for neutral employers and their employees.
Employees working on commercial productions are allowed to access commercial productions at studios via a neutral gate designated by the studio. If any represented employees have questions about this procedure, they should contact the commercial business agent at their union.