Behind the Scenes: Unraveling the Prolonged Actors’ Strike – SAG-AFTRA Deal Delay Explained

About a week ago, the entertainment industry seemed on the brink of a resolution to the prolonged actors’ strike. However, as the strike entered its 117th day, hopes for a speedy resolution have been dashed. The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) announced that several "essential items" still stood in the way of reaching a deal, leaving the industry in a state of uncertainty.

AI in Filmmaking: A Major Stumbling Block


A significant point of contention revolves around the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in filmmaking, a relatively uncharted territory. Both parties, the studios and the actors’ union, are wary of conceding ground on AI-related matters. The fear stems from the rapid evolution of AI technologies, making it challenging to establish a definitive agreement that will safeguard the rights of actors and studios in the future.

"That’s clearly an area where we have some differences that are pretty significant," said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator. "AI is definitely an area of major concern."

Fueling concerns was a proposal by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) that would enable studios and streaming platforms to utilize AI scans of deceased performers without consent. Studio sources, however, refute these claims, stating that any reuse of AI scans necessitates consent from the performers or their authorized representatives, ensuring compensation for their use.

Challenges in Streaming Era Compensation

TV Creatives Fight Over Pay Changes in the Streaming Era

Aside from AI-related issues, the negotiation table is cluttered with discussions about how performers should be compensated in the streaming era. While the studios are resistant to revenue sharing arrangements with SAG-AFTRA, there are ongoing talks about a success-based model. This model, potentially more generous than the one accepted by the Writers Guild of America, focuses on bonuses for shows watched by a significant portion of a streaming platform’s subscribers within the initial 90 days of release.

Strike captain Kate Bond highlighted the importance of resolving issues related to AI and residuals, emphasizing their significance in the livelihood of actors. Until agreements are reached on these pivotal matters, the actors’ strike persists, leaving the industry in a state of flux.

Narrowing the Gap: Progress on Compensation and Wages

Learn How to Win in the Salary Negotiation Waiting Game

Negotiations have seen movement on several fronts, including basic minimum pay. Initially, SAG-AFTRA sought an 11% general wage increase in the first year of the contract to counter inflation. The studios countered with a 5% hike, eventually adjusting their offer to 7%. While progress has been made, achieving a consensus remains elusive.

In summary, the protracted actors’ strike revolves around intricate issues, particularly concerning AI usage and compensation structures in the streaming era. As both parties engage in intensive negotiations, the future of the entertainment industry hangs in the balance. Until agreements on these essential aspects are reached, the question remains: Actors’ strike: Why is the SAG-AFTRA deal taking so long?

Exploring Critical Inquiries About the SAG-AFTRA Labor Dispute

What Are the Issues Causing the Actors’ Strike Delay?

In the ongoing actors’ strike negotiations, familiar challenges from past writers’ strikes have surfaced. The primary concerns include demands for augmented pay and advancements in residuals – payments actors receive for reruns, especially on streaming platforms. A significant issue arises from streaming services frequently removing older films and episodic shows from their offerings, impacting actors’ compensation over time. Addressing these issues is critical to reaching a resolution and ending the current impasse.

How Are AI Concerns Affecting the SAG-AFTRA Negotiations?

In the SAG-AFTRA negotiations, similar to the WGA strike, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to replace human labor has emerged as a significant point of contention. Specifically, concerns revolve around the creation of digital replicas of performers and altering performances through AI technology. This ambiguity and unease surrounding AI applications have become a driving force behind the actors’ strike, adding complexity to the negotiations as both parties grapple with safeguarding performers’ rights amidst rapid technological advancements.

How Many Days Has SAG-AFTRA Been on Strike in 2023?

As of now, the SAG-AFTRA actors’ strike has persisted for 113 days. Hollywood’s major studios recently made an offer in hopes of bringing an end to this prolonged labor dispute. The industry watches closely as negotiations continue, anticipating a resolution to the strike that has significantly impacted the entertainment sector.

What Is the Late Payment Policy for SAG-AFTRA?

Late fees for SAG-AFTRA payments amount to $3.00 per day (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays), accumulating up to 30 days for a maximum fee of $90. If the payment remains delinquent after 30 business days, the Union reserves the right to send a notice to the producer, imposing an additional charge of $75 and an additional $5 per day until the outstanding payment is settled.

How Long Does It Take to Join SAG?

To qualify for SAG-AFTRA membership, performers must fulfill specific requirements. Applicants need to be active members of affiliated performers’ unions like ACTRA, AEA, AGMA, or AGVA for a minimum of one year. Additionally, they must have experience working as a principal performer and received payment at least once within the jurisdiction of the respective union. Meeting these conditions enables performers to become esteemed members of SAG-AFTRA.

How Many Days Has SAG Been Striking?

SAG-AFTRA has been in the midst of a strike for 114 days. The union has not provided a specific timeline for when it intends to respond or conclude the strike, leaving the industry in anticipation of further developments.

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