SAG-AFTRA Rejects “Deliberately Distorted” Offer, Sparks Hollywood Showdown with Employers

SAG-AFTRA Rejects Employers’ Offer, Sparks Conflict Over Contract Terms

SAG-AFTRA, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and Hollywood’s largest employers, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), are engaged in a heated dispute over the terms of the offer that SAG-AFTRA recently rejected. The rejection led to the union’s decision to go on strike last week. The AMPTP claims that the deal included substantial benefits for performers, while SAG-AFTRA argues that the employers failed to address their most critical concerns.

In a detailed statement released by SAG-AFTRA, the union expressed its objections to the deal presented by the AMPTP. The statement emphasized the union’s fight against a system where media conglomerates exploit workers for their own financial gain. SAG-AFTRA called for a strike on July 12 against AMPTP companies, joining the Writers Guild of America, which has been on strike since May 2.

In response, the AMPTP issued a statement accusing SAG-AFTRA of distorting the terms of their offer. They disputed the union’s claim that they did not engage meaningfully on crucial issues and criticized the union for providing incomplete information to its members.

One contentious point between the two parties revolves around AI protections. SAG-AFTRA claimed that the AMPTP’s proposal would allow producers to use performers’ images and likenesses without consent and exploit their work for AI systems. Management-side sources argue that the proposal is not as sweeping as portrayed by the union.

Among the contract points highlighted by the AMPTP are the highest percentage increase in minimums in 35 years, increases in pension and health contributions, groundbreaking AI proposals, pay increases for various roles, provisions for Stunt Coordinators, and more. SAG-AFTRA, on the other hand, stressed the need for minimum earnings to keep up with inflation, protections for performers’ images and performances in the face of AI technology, equal access to qualified hair and makeup professionals, fair compensation for streaming revenue, sustainable health and retirement funds, improved contract terms for series regulars, and reimbursement for relocation expenses.

The AMPTP’s statement attempted to downplay the significance of the rejection by emphasizing the benefits they had included in the offer. However, SAG-AFTRA stands firm in its belief that the terms of the deal are inadequate in addressing their members’ concerns.

As the strike continues, both parties will need to find common ground and engage in productive negotiations to resolve their differences and ensure a fair and equitable contract for performers in the entertainment industry.