Los Angeles, US | Xinhua | Hollywood’s largest union representing about 160,000 actors and workers in television and film announced a strike on Thursday, leading to the first industrywide shutdown of U.S. entertainment industry in more than six decades.
The national board of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) voted unanimously to go on strike, said the union at a news conference.
The strike is set to go into effect at Thursday midnight and picketing will start on Friday morning, according to the union.
“It came with great sadness that we came to this crossroads, but we have no choice,” said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher, noting that members of the union “are being victimized by a very greedy entity.”
The union said it has instructed “all SAG-AFTRA members to cease rendering all services and performing all work covered by the TV/Theatrical Contracts.”
“After more than four weeks of negotiations, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) – the entity that represents major studios and streamers, including Amazon, Apple, Disney, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, and Warner Bros Discovery – remains unwilling to offer a fair deal on the key issues that you told us are important to you,” said Drescher and the union’s chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland earlier Thursday morning.
“Though we’ve engaged in negotiations in good faith and remained eager to reach a deal that sufficiently addressed performer concerns, the AMPTP’s responses to our proposals have not been adequate,” they noted.
It’s the first time that Hollywood witnessed two industry-wide strikes at the same time since 1960 and is also the first actors strike since 1980. The SAG-AFTRA strike came two months after the start of an ongoing strike of the Writers Guild of America and its 11,500 members in May, which has brought Hollywood production on many new projects to a halt. ■