After SAG-AFTRA announced their strike, fellow entertainment unions immediately started issuing statements of solidarity. The Writers Guild of America, whose members have been on strike since May 2, were the first to pledge their support to the actors. The Actors’ Equity Association joined in, as did ACTRA, Canada’s actors union. The Directors Guild issued a statement Thursday in support of the actors as well. Kurt Petersen, co-president of Unite Here Local 11 also expressed support for SAG-AFTRA.
The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike plans to begin at midnight, and will impact 160,000 members. The strike, combined with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, will put a pause on many of the remaining productions that had been shooting without writers. Actors will be on the picket line starting Friday morning.
What did the WGA and The Actors’ Equity Association say about the SAG-AFTRA strike?
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) expressed support for the actors’ strike in a recent statement. The WGA noted that members of both unions have been supporting each other on the picket lines and highlighted the benefits of working together. The writers also pointed to the “double strike” in 1960, when both unions won gains in pension, health funds etc. This time, both unions have common goals at the negotiating table, including residuals, the use of artificial intelligence, and other issues. “SAG-AFTRA has supported the WGA from the start of our negotiations, joining our picket lines and rallies across the country every day writers have been on strike. We pledge to fully support SAG-AFTRA as they strike to get the contract they deserve,” read the statement.
The Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), which represents actors and stage managers in live theater and has a large membership overlap with SAG-AFTRA, issued a statement from President Kate Shindle. Shindle spoke about multiple things, among which the need for actors to gain protection against their likeness being used and then digitally replicated in the future was first and foremost on the list. Aside from this, WGA East, WGA West, IATSE, and Hollywood Basic Crafts all joined in to issue statements in support of SAG-AFTRA’s strike.
“Actors’ Equity Association stands in solidarity with SAG-AFTRA as they strike in pursuit of a fair TV/ Theatrical/Streaming contract from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers [AMPTP]. Performers deserve to share in the success of the work we do for these global, multi-billion-dollar companies. Nobody should step in front of a camera fearing that today’s work will be mined, manipulated or repurposed in the future without consent or compensation.”A statement from Actors’ Equity Association
What comments did The Directors Guild & Unite Here Local 11 officials make regarding this strike?
The Directors Guild (DGA) issued a statement on Thursday in support of the actors even though it was the only union to reach a deal with the studios. After expressing immense disappointment towards AMPTP, DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter wrote, “During this critical and difficult time for our industry, the Directors Guild strongly supports the actors who will be on strike beginning tomorrow.” Unite Here Local 11, which represents 15,000 hotel workers who are on strike as of early July, also expressed their solidarity with the actor’s guild. Kurt Petersen, co-president of the union said, “…Those of us who write, who teach, who cook, who clean, who act are struggling to afford a 2-bedroom apartment. We welcome the heroic members of SAG AFTRA to this historic fight to ensure those who make Los Angeles prosperous and beautiful will be able to live in Los Angeles.”
In addition to these two powerful unions, Canada’s Actors Union (CTRA) also chimed in with its message of solidarity with SAG-AFTRA. “We recognize that their fight is our fight and is for the good of all performers… Together we will continue working to ensure performers are respected and achieve fair compensation for the value we bring to every production,” said Eleanor Noble, who is the National president of ACTRA.