Actors Start Strike Preparations A Week Ahead Of Extended Talks Deadline


EXCLUSIVE: As talks between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP continue this week, actors are getting a head start on picket planning should negotiations end in a stalemate at midnight on July 12 and lead to a double strike alongside the Writers Guild.

It comes after SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP agreed Friday to extend their current film and TV contract to allow bargaining on a new deal to continue. We hear there have been talks over the weekend as well as on Monday.

Deadline hears that actors are working on picket signs and ordering T-shirts, and putting together a list of lot captains and coordinators. The WGA captains and coordinators have been the logistical backbone of the writers strike, now in its 65th day, organizing each day’s actions outside studio across Los Angeles and New York City.

Although SAG-AFTRA has yet to officially reach out to the WGA to discuss plans and logistics, Deadline understands that a number of WGA members have individually offered to help SAG-AFTRA captains and coordinators should the occasion arise. It is expected that SAG-AFTRA will join the WGA at established studio picket sites, which would require the writers to also add one more staffer at each location.

If SAG-AFTRA members, who voted 98% in favor of authorizing a strike if leadership fails to reach an acceptable deal, do agree to strike, they are expected to hit the streets on the morning of Thursday, July 13.

We understand SAG-AFTRA sent its members an email over the long July 4th weekend asking them to join the pickets Wednesday at CBS Radford, which resulted in a large turnout, we hear. We hear guild staff showed up and set up its own table apart from the WGA without giving the writers a heads up of their plans, though they were welcomed with open arms.

A strike involving the Writers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild (minus AFTRA, which merged with SAG in 2012) is not unprecedented but still quite rare. In 1960, the WGA was in the middle of a five-month strike when SAG president Ronald Regan called for the actors guild’s own strike.

A WGA member source told Deadline, “The writers have gone it alone on 7 out of 8 strikes and won each of them. We’ll get the deal we need this time as well, but we would welcome them on the line. The actors joining us would be as historic as in 1960, when concurrent strikes gave us health care and our pension. The WGA has long known that the studios give up nothing without a fight, which means walking, and it appears the SAG-AFTRA membership does now as well. The membership seems ready to walk the line.”

There is concern from some quarters of the actors guild that leadership will strike a deal that “doesn’t get all the way there,” as evidenced by a letter signed a raft of A-listers including Meryl Streep, Amy Schumer and Charlize Theron.

“We’re hoping — for the sake of their membership — that this time, their leadership will be aware of the moment at hand. The last thing any union in the country wants to be now are the DGA,” added the WGA member.

Deadline has reached out to SAG-AFTRA for official comment.

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