SAG-AFTRA Votes to Strike, Uniting Actors and Writers Against Hollywood Studios

The national board of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) voted today, July 13, to go on strike, joining the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in protest against major Hollywood studios and streamers. 

The vote followed a month-long debate between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to negotiate a new contract for union actors. Despite the involvement of a federal moderator, the two entities were unable to reach an agreement before their existing contract expired at 11:59 p.m. PT on July 12. 

Starting at midnight PT, the union’s 160,000 actors will start striking alongside their screenwriting colleagues, who have been on the picket lines since early May. With streaming services and AI technologies quickly transforming the landscape of Hollywood, both unions are demanding better protections and higher pay to keep up with these new-age changes. 

“The current streaming model has undercut performers’ residual income, and high inflation has further reduced our members’ ability to make ends meet,” Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator, said during a press conference this afternoon. He continued, “A strike is an instrument of last resort. … Unfortunately, they have left us with no alternative.”

“We are the victims here,” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher added. “We are being victimized by a very greedy entity.” 

The AMPTP expressed immediate disappointment with the union’s strike, claiming their rejected offer included “historic” wage increases and “groundbreaking” proposals for AI protections. In a statement responding to the strike’s announcement, the group said: “The Union has regrettably chosen a path that will lead to financial hardship for countless thousands of people who depend on the industry.”

This marks the largest Hollywood walkout in four decades, and the first time in 63 years that both actors and writers have been on strike simultaneously. Their joint action is expected to stunt productions, premieres and press until satisfactory compromises can be reached, bringing Hollywood to an indefinite standstill. 

For more information on strike terms and picketing locations, check out SAG-AFTRA’s official website.

Watch SAG-AFTRA’s official press conference

For live updates on the story, check out the New York Times’ continued digital coverage of the action.