LA Mayor Calls for ‘Equitable’ Deal to End Actors Strike

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass discussed the actors strike and union members hit the picket line in New York City on Friday, July 14, 2023. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass says the actors strike has “urgent” financial implications for the city, and must be resolved soon.

As actors hit picket lines across the country on Friday, Bass urged SAG-AFTRA and the Hollywood studios to return to the negotiating table.

“With more than one hundred thousand workers now participating in an unprecedented strike, it is clear the entertainment industry is at a historic inflection point,” Bass said in a statement. “This affects all of us and is essential to our overall economy.”

The mayor added that she plans to take steps, to help resolve the dispute between the actors union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) — which represents studios and streamers, including Amazon, Apple, Disney, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, and Warner Bros Discovery.

“I call upon all sides to come to the table and work around the clock until an equitable agreement is reached. This is an urgent issue that must be resolved and I will be working to make that happen,” the statement continued.

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SAG-AFTRA’s three-year film and TV contract expired on June 30. The negotiations were then extended until 11:59 p.m. PT on July 12, but ultimately broke down.

Actors began walking picket lines in Los Angeles, New York and other cities on Friday, July 14.

Among the issues on the table are profit sharing or residuals, when streaming platforms re-play TV shows and movies, plus new rules to protect against artificial intelligence using an actor’s likeness and replacing their work.

SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher slammed “greedy” studio executives on Thursday in a fiery speech.

“We are the victims here. We are being victimized by a very greedy entity,” she said.

“The jig is up AMPTP, we stand tall,” Drescher added. “And we demand respect and to be honored for our contribution. You share the wealth because you cannot exist without us.”

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On the picket line Friday outside Warner Bros. in Burbank, striking actors chanted, “The jig is up! The jig is up!”

The AMPTP has said it offered a “historic” contract, which was rejected by the union.

“The AMPTP presented a deal that offered historic pay and residual increases, substantially higher caps on pension and health contributions, audition protections, shortened series option periods, and a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors’ digital likenesses for SAG-AFTRA members,” the group said after SAG-AFTRA called the strike.

In its strike order, the union said actors must immediately stop performing, auditioning, attending movie premieres, press junkets, going to film festivals, and promoting their projects for awards consideration.

Businesses across the country that supply catering, clothing, props, security services and transportation for movies, TV shoots, film festivals, and award shows are taking financial hits.

SAG-AFTRA has 160,000 members. Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union’s national executive director and chief negotiator, said SAG-AFTRA members who are broadcast journalists, work in interactive entertainment, audiobooks, music, commercials and other areas “will not be directly impacted” because they have separate contracts.

Actors and writers are both on strike.

The Writers Guild of America strike began on May 2. This is the industry’s first dual work stoppage since 1960.