The pressure on US television and movie producers was ramped up last week when SAG-AFTRA members – 160,000 entertainment and media professionals – walked off the job to demand a fair business model in the streaming age.
The striking actors join the Writers Guild of America, East and West, who have been picketing since May, and UNI Global Union is standing in solidarity with them.
Their fight is the same fight against corporate greed that workers around the world are waging. In a statement to its members, SAG-AFTRA leadership says:
The companies represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) — which include Amazon/MGM, Apple, Disney/ABC/Fox, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount/CBS, Sony, Warner Bros. Discovery (HBO), and others — are committed to prioritizing shareholders and Wall Street.
Expressing solidarity with the actors’ union, UNI General Secretary Christy Hoffman and World President Ruben Cortina issued a statement pledging solidarity:
By launching the first strikes ever where AI is a key bargaining issue, the Writers Guilds and SAG-AFTRA are on the frontlines of determining whether workers will share in the benefits of digitalization, or whether generative AI will be yet another tool to drive inequality. Indeed, the workers in the media industry are the first line of defence for workers everywhere regarding AI. Just as your members give life to the characters they create; your strike is giving voice to the millions of workers who want wages with dignity and fair work in a digital era.
There is no question that workers around the world are inspired and aware of your brave and strong steps. I can assure you that this strike is a global event. Around the world, everyone knows of “Hollywood,” and they know that when the actors stand together, they are a powerful force indeed.
We wish you every success and will offer our concrete solidarity as requested! To borrow a phrase from our other sectors: When we fight, we win!
Read the full statement and the statement from UNI’s Media, Entertainment & Arts below. Learn how you can join SAG-AFTRA actions here.