LOS ANGELES – Members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, the union announced Monday.
The members voted 97.91% in favor or authorizing a strike in voting that concluded Monday, according to the union. Nearly 65,000 members cast ballots, a voting percentage of 47.69% of eligible voters, according to the union.
The vote to authorize a strike does not ensure a strike will happen, but allows the board to call one if deemed necessary. SAG-AFTRA will begin negotiations Wednesday with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The SAG-AFTRA contracts covering movie and television production expire at midnight on June 30.
“The strike authorization votes have been tabulated and the membership joined their elected leadership and negotiating committee in favor of strength and solidarity,” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said in a statement. “I’m proud of all of you who voted as well as those who were vocally supportive, even if unable to vote. Everyone played a part in this achievement.
“Together we lock elbows and in unity we build a new contract that honors our contributions in this remarkable industry, reflects the new digital and streaming business model and brings all our concerns for protections and benefits into the now. Bravo SAG-AFTRA, we are in it to win it.”
Chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said he “could not be more pleased with this response from the membership.”
“This overwhelming yes vote is a clear statement that it’s time for an evolution in this contract,” Crabtree-Ireland said in a statement. “As we enter what may be one of the most consequential negotiations in the union’s history, inflation, dwindling residuals due to streaming, and generative AI all threaten actors’ ability to earn a livelihood if our contracts are not adapted to reflect the new realities.
“This strike authorization means we enter our negotiations from a position of strength, so that we can deliver the deal our members want and deserve.”
SAG-AFTRA represents more than 160,000 entertainment and media professionals.