Hollywood Expresses Frustration After SAG-AFTRA Extends Contract Talks: ‘Help Me Understand’

Meanwhile, the actors guild tells members “no one should mistake this extension for weakness”

SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher, right, marches with WGA West President Meredith Stiehm on the writers strike picket line at Paramount Pictures.

Critics of SAG-AFTRA’s Friday night decision to extend contract talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are speaking out. Many of them are citing the logic of such a move when many in the union have expressed they’re ready and willing to strike. 

“Someone help me understand why union leadership does not listen to members,” wrote filmmaker and musician Amanda Moon on Twitter. “Between IATSE fumbling the strike authorization in 2021 to now SAG pressing for extensions when 97% of members say STRIKE if AMPTP doesn’t come to terms… make it make sense.”

SAG-AFTRA’s current deal with the AMPTP was set to expire Friday night at 11:59 p.m. The extension delays what could either be the first instance of two Hollywood unions striking at the same time since 1960, or a sharp drop in leverage for the writers’ Guild, which has been striking for two months. 

“Awful, what are you doing SAG? STAND WITH YOUR WRITERS,” journalist Drew Ryan wrote.

In an open letter to SAG-AFTRA membership, the union’s leadership said it extended talks “in order to exhaust every opportunity to achieve the righteous contract we all demand and deserve.”

“No one should mistake this extension for weakness,” they said.

Some who are in favor of an actors’ strike are fearful that the extension means the guild will reach a deal with the producers that is less than favorable. Others are taking it as a sign that SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher and the rest of the union’s leadership aren’t settling for less than perfect.

“Someone please explain to me how calling an extension is SAG giving away leverage,” wrote writer Merrill Barr. “We all literally thought WGA was gonna extend on 5/1 until shit went south and we saw the documentation for why. Strike is LAST resort for a reason. Extension means SAG isn’t taking first offer.”

While there was some support of the decision, opposition was apparently more vocal on social media.

See more reactions to the extension below: