WGA Says It Stands ‘Solidly Behind Our Union Siblings’ SAG-AFTRA in Double Strike Against Hollywood Studios

“We look forward to seeing you and our SAG-AFTRA union siblings out on the picket lines,” the union’s negotiating committee says

SAG-AFTRA members joined WGA members on the writers' picket lines outside Netflix headquarters in May, and are now set to join in an actors strike of their own
SAG-AFTRA members joined WGA members on the writers' picket lines outside Netflix's Los Angeles headquarters Tuesday. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The Writers Guild of America will be standing “solidly” by SAG-AFTRA’s side following the union’s unanimous decision to go on strike.

SAG-AFTRA’s decision to strike came as the industry entered its third month of the WGA strike, which began on May 2, after the WGA could not come to an agreement on a new contract with the AMPTP. A payment increase in residuals and the ridding of “mini-rooms” were some of the issues at-hand.

On Thursday, the WGA released a statement saying it would be supporting SAG-AFTRA’s decision.

“The AMPTP has proven unwilling to meet the justifiable demands of actors and writers at the bargaining table in 2023,” the WGA said in a statement sent to TheWrap.

This marks the first strike from actors against the film and TV industry since 1980, and it’s also the first time actors and writers have come together in a strike since 1960. The unions will join together at the picket lines starting Friday.

The union continued: “We stand solidly behind our union siblings in SAG-AFTRA as they begin their work stoppage. The last time both of our unions struck at the same time, actors and writers won landmark provisions that we all continue to benefit from today – residuals and pension and health funds. SAG-AFTRA has supported the WGA from the start of our negotiations, joining our picket lines and rallies across the country every day writers have been on strike. We pledge to fully support SAG-AFTRA as they strike to get the contract they deserve. We will be back to you when there is anything of significance to report. Until then, we look forward to seeing you and our SAG-AFTRA union siblings out on the picket lines. “

Earlier on Thursday, the AMPTP sent a statement of its own, in which the association shared its disappointment in SAG-AFTRA’s choice to strike.

“We are deeply disappointed that SAG-AFTRA has decided to walk away from
negotiations,” AMPTP’s statement read. “This is the Union’s choice, not ours. In doing so, it has dismissed our offer of historic pay and residual increases, substantially higher caps on pension and health contributions, audition protections, shortened series option periods, a groundbreaking AI
proposal that protects actors’ digital likenesses, and more. Rather than continuing to negotiate, SAG-AFTRA has put us on a course that will deepen the financial hardship for thousands who depend on the industry for their livelihoods.”

SAG-AFTRA embodies a membership of about 160,000 actors in Hollywood, and its decision to join the ranks with the WGA comes after what SAG-AFTRA president, Fran Drescher, referred to as an “insulting and disrespectful” deal after the union and the AMPTP’s final day of negotiations on Wednesday.

“The companies have refused to meaningfully engage on some topics and on others completely stonewalled us,” Drescher said. “Until they do negotiate in good faith, we cannot begin to reach a deal. We have no choice but to move forward in unity, and on behalf of our membership, with a strike recommendation to our National Board. The board will discuss the issue this morning and will make its decision.”