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Actors in Hollywood accept federal mediation as a strike looms

Unionized Hollywood actors have consented to federal mediators' last-minute intervention.
Actors in Hollywood accept federal mediation as a strike looms
Posted at 3:46 PM, Jul 12, 2023

The actors have agreed to let federal mediators get involved, but the union doesn't expect this to change much of anything.

SAG-AFTRA actors have been working to reach a new labor deal with the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP), a group that represents over 300 major Hollywood studios, with the main sticking points — not very different from what the writers are seeking — being higher wages and streaming residuals. 

“The AMPTP has abused our trust and damaged the respect we have for them in this process," SAG-AFTRA said in a statement. "We will not be manipulated by this cynical ploy to engineer an extension when the companies have had more than enough time to make a fair deal.”

Another concern on the list is the use of artificial intelligence, as it's taking over just about every industry.

The concern in television and film is that with A.I. recreating their likeness, there’s no need for actors.

In some cases, A.I. is already being used in scriptwriting — contributing, in part, to the writers' strike that has been ongoing for nearly three months.

SEE MORE: Hollywood writers' strike ripples to thousands of out-of-work crews

The current contract for the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) expires at 11:59 p.m. PT on Wednesday, and if a deal isn't made by the deadline the actors could soon join more than 11,000 writers on the picket lines.

The last time both actors and writers unions went on strike at the same time was 1960, and pending tonight's deal, this would be SAG-AFTRA's first strike in more than two decades.

"I mean, look, if there's one thing actors do, it’s show up to perform, right? If you tell actors there's a stage somewhere, they will rush it. So, if a strike is called, I would expect this entire block to be choked with actors," said Adam Conover, a member of SAG-AFTRA. "If both unions struck together and were in solidarity, it would really have an impact on the industry. Without actors or writers, I feel like that would get things moving."

Some of the studios AMPTP is representing include Amazon, Apple, CBS, Disney, NBC Universal, Netflix, Paramount Global, Sony, and Warner Bros. Discovery.

The writers' strike has caused significant delays in the production of several shows, including popular series like "The White Lotus," "Emily in Paris," and the highly anticipated final season of "Stranger Things." 

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