Art and Entertainment

actors strike, sag strike, who is supporting the actors strike
Gus Ruelas/AP
Screen Actors Guild executive director Doug Allen, left with SAG president Alan Rosenberg.

SAG Says Yes to Actors’ Strike

November 24, 2008 11:54 AM
by Rachel Balik
Unable to come to an agreement with producers about new media royalties for actors, the Screen Actors Guild will ask members to strike.

Actors, Producers Can’t Agree on Payments for Online Broadcasts

After several months of negotiations and a final, epic 27-hour session, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have not yet settled how actors should be paid for work broadcast over the Internet and on cell phones. SAG says it will urge its members to vote for a strike. According to CNN, AMPTP has accused SAG of stubbornness inappropriate to a time of economic crisis. SAG says that it simply hopes the threat of a strike, which would shut down the entertainment industry for a second time within a year, will bolster the group’s bargaining strength.

The Sunday Mail reports that George Clooney and Jack Nicholson support a strike, and SAG hopes that several other big Hollywood names will join them.

Background: The seed of a strike is planted

SAG’s contract with the AMPTP expired June 30, as the two organizations tried and failed to negotiate a new deal. During the month of June, the entire industry appeared to be in a stalemate; agents even stopped booking movies for their clients. Some TV shows rushed to finish production before a strike could take place. Ultimately, although no agreement was reached, business continued and actors simply worked without a contract.

Related Topic: Domino effect of striking

The writers’ strike in early 2008 had wider negative ramifications for the industry. Crew workers who had been unemployed during the strike were still unable to find employment after work resumed, due to the shortened production schedules. After the strike, television production was down 45 percent.

The strike also lessened viewer enthusiasm for television. Shows returned when the strike resolved, but TV viewers in April and May 2008 decreased by nine percent. The low ratings threatened to seriously hurt networks as they were in the process of securing advertisers; NBC chief researcher Alan Wurtzel warned that it was impossible to assume that viewers would continue old patterns of TV watching.

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines