The WGA West and East released a statement on Monday expressing support and solidarity for the SAG-AFTRA union as it returns to the bargaining table with the Hollywood studios.
The writers union’s labor stoppage ended with a brokered deal last week. The actors are still on strike after beginning their own stoppage in mid-July.
“The WGA West and East call upon the AMPTP and its member companies to negotiate the fair deal that members of SAG-AFTRA need and deserve,” the statement read. “SAG-AFTRA has been on strike for more than 70 days as it fights for a contract that allows performers to share in the value of the work they help create.”
The statement continued, “Rather than engage in the traditional AMPTP tactic of pushing a deal on SAG-AFTRA that is patterned on our own tentative agreement or any other industry deal, a strategy which has already caused considerable delay and suffering, the companies must make a deal that addresses the needs of performers. WGA members will continue to show up on picket lines and support SAG-AFTRA until they reach that deal. Solidarity forever.”
As is the case with most labor negotiations, SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP are keeping their plans for these talks confidential. As reported by TheWrap, there are some key points if and when talks yield a new contract.
Both unions were fighting against the notion of essentially giving a variation of the same deal to all three major guilds (the WGA, the DGA and SAG). The compensation for streaming performances is sure to be a major bone of contention. The distribution system was somewhat new during the 2008 WGA strikes. It has now become a dominant means of content distribution. Other better-compensated revenue streams like linear television and theatrical declined over the last 15 years. There is also likely to be conflict over how artificial intelligence will or won’t be used for onscreen acting.
Meanwhile, a major point of contention during the final days of the WGA strike was indeed provisions concerning whether writers could choose not to go back to work until the actors had also reached a deal. This statement goes along with that narrative. The two unions have at least tried to paint a picture of mutual solidarity rather than being pitted against each other.
Actors joined their striking co-workers on the picket line well before their own unions made it official. Also, August 22, one month before the WGA strike came to end, was officially declared the National Day of Solidarity between the two concurrently striking guilds.
For all of TheWrap’s strike coverage, click here.