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SAG-AFTRA will seek strike authorization from members

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It’s the actors’ turn now.

After negotiations failed with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the National Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists have decided to prepare for the worst — just in case. In an announcement posted Sunday on its website, SAG-AFTRA said it would test the resolve of its members by seeking a strike authorization. If approved by 75 percent of the membership, the actors would hit the picket line if a new three-year deal isn’t inked by June 30.

See the announcement below:

Dear Member,

Your SAG-AFTRA negotiating team has been hard at work bargaining with the major studios and networks represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) for a new three-year contract covering motion pictures, television and new media. We had hoped to be sharing the good news that we had reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP but, unfortunately, their unwillingness to come to a fair and equitable agreement means we are coming to you with very different news.

We have presented reasonable proposals to address the critical concerns facing our members and that are integral to making a living in this industry. The AMPTP has responded with outrageous rollbacks that cut to the core of our basic terms and conditions. Despite our efforts, the AMPTP has failed to move on our most critical issues. The status quo is simply unacceptable and our members, standing together, will not give in to management’s onerous demands nor back down on our critical proposals.

After a comprehensive update from the negotiating committee, the National Board of Directors today unanimously voted to authorize sending out a strike authorization referendum to SAG-AFTRA members, unless a satisfactory agreement is reached by June 30, 2017.

A strike authorization is not a strike. It is a powerful tool that authorizes your negotiators to call a strike if they are unable to secure a fair deal. If a strike authorization referendum is issued, you will receive additional information on the voting process. That said, our negotiating committee will use this tool if necessary.

Now more than ever, our collective strength, unity and commitment is critical to securing the fair contract our members deserve. Stay engaged in the process and stand together in supporting each other and our negotiators.

The letter was signed by actress Gabrielle Carteris (Beverly Hills, 90210), the President and Chair of the TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee, and David White, National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator.

Negotiations began a month ago over issues like exclusivity hold on short season series, residual payments, and pension benefits.

In May, the Writers Guild threatened to strike but ultimately reached a new three-year deal with the AMPTP.