Screen Actors Guild strike status

This post contains news on a Screen Actors Guild strike that may take place in 2009.

UPDATE: “Citing division among its membership, the Screen Actors Guild delayed a vote that would authorize the union to call a strike and bring the entertainment business to a halt. SAG announced Monday it would delay sending out ballots until Jan. 14 at the earliest, after the union’s national board holds an emergency meeting. The union initially planned to send strike authorization ballots to more than 100,000 union members on Jan. 2, a date that would have put Oscar night within reach of a potential boycott.” Full article

Tipster: Carrie

Previous news on the next page.

92 comments

  1. Are. You. Kidding. Me.

    This year has been a great season on not just The Office, but all my other favorite shows. PLEASE, SAG, don’t mess it up.

  2. Nooo! What did we do to deserve this? Did someone deface an Indian burial ground? Maybe if we pray to an animal with the body of a snake…and the head of a beaver…it won’t happen?

    [from tanster: good idea! let’s do it!]

  3. Oh no! This would be terrible if we had two seasons in a row that were shortened by strikes! I think I’d die.

  4. What in the world? Why does this keep happening?

    Can’t everyone just get along and make more episodes??

  5. Gaaaaaahhhhhhh!

    FACT: another strike would really, really suck. SAG and AMPTP, let’s make a deal! Pretty please?

  6. NO! Television is the only thing that is keeping me sane. Last year was so rough…I’m still not sure I’ve recovered. If this happens, people are going to riot in the streets. Television viewers don’t like getting screwed over on a regular basis.

  7. Yes SAG please strike because a strike would not have a negative effect on our stagnant economy, especially if the auto industry collapses. A strike would not in any way put thousands of below the line people out of work as well as the thousands of workers in the support industries around L.A. that depend on the entertainment industry.

  8. I don’t see the members approving this. Times are just too tough right now.

    Get a contract signed and go on strike the next time around. The actors, crew, and industry cannot afford this. Yes, the actors need to get paid what is fair and just but now is not the time to fight this fight.

  9. Ok if this does go down (god forbid.) Tanster, could you find out how many episodes The Office has finished already? I bet they have more done than last time.

  10. There’s a good chance I’m going to kill myself if ANOTHER season of The Office gets shortened because of people not knowing how to compromise. Seriously. I work in Arbitration – give and take, it’s not that hard. (TWSS).

  11. nooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i can’t go through this again!!!!!!! don’t deprive us of our office, please! just pay what is due dudes!

  12. Apparently SAG needs to read a paper or something and see the current economic situation. After seeing how all the new shows that had shortened seasons as a result of the WGA strike last year and have now pretty much all been canceled I would think that for their own self-interest SAG would be wise to not even remotely consider a strike and take the best deal they can get.

  13. I hope this doesn’t happen not just because I wanna watch The Office every week, but because in this economy we don’t need even MORE people not working (I’m thinking specifically of the crew, who don’t necessarily make that much).

  14. I will be amazed if they actually strike given the economic climate. To misquote The Big Lebowski: ‘This isn’t Nam, SAG; there are rules”. As in don’t ruin your local economy by striking during a recession.

  15. This really isn’t shocking; we heard rumors of this all last year. When WGA was on strike, they were officially supported by SAG with the hopes that when SAG declared strike (which was scheduled to happen after the WGA strike settled), they would have the backing of WGA. We all supported the writers feverishly last year, and the same should go for the actors, no matter how much IT WILL SUCK.

    All that said, I don’t think SAG will do it. 75% is a big number and I think too many people are still exhausted from the last strike.

  16. I really think (or maybe I’m hoping) that SAG won’t strike. They saw how much everyone was affected last year. And like other people have mentioned about the economy…it’s just not a good time.

  17. wow this is not so awesome. Can someone explain to me what exactly this whole contract business is about? What are the benefits of having it and is it really worth going through another mess like earlier this year?

  18. -michael- no, no, nooooo!
    not another strike. please SAG, please. that would be devastating. like others have said, it’s not the right time to fight this.

  19. Sometimes I feel like I’m at the point of just saying “Whatever” to all this nonsense. I mean, I really do understand the importance of it so I won’t stop caring or supporting that these people need to get what they deserve…but…it got old a long time ago.

  20. Read this this morning. I knew it was looming but wasn’t sure when. Actors do need a better contract. Unfortunately it comes at one of the lousiest times in the history of this country. Normally I would say a strike would be inevitable, but with the current economy, voters will be thinking twice. The problem is that SAG’s contract can only be re-negotiated every ten years (someone correct me if that number is wrong). If they don’t go for those issues now, lots of income will be lost in the coming years- especially for actors that count on residual checks. SAG’s current contract doesn’t hold studios to SAG standards for internet: they want to use non-union actors and not pay residuals. It’s unfair because the studios end up making all the money without doing the “work.”
    On the positive side, it will take over a month to vote and by then I believe The Office will be on hiatus. From what I heard I think they will have something like 18 episodes in the can by then, so we may be okay. It’ll be a bummer if it messes up this season, though. Let’s hope for the best for everyone!

  21. SAG can re-negotiate in three years. They should sign the current deal and fight for more then. How insane must they be to try and strike when everyone is hurting so badly?

  22. That would suck so much. I’d be gutted. But how likely is it to happen? 75 % of 120,000 seems a lot, but I wonder how strongly the actors (especially those who work in television feel about this).

    Maybe if a strike happens, they will try to make it as short as possible after the WAG one.

  23. I honestly don’t even care anymore, let them strike. With the state America is in, we have far more pressing issues to worry about then Hollywood, and what Hollywood wants.

    Movies, television, and theater are a luxury, and if actors want to put themselves in a compromising position when more and more people are going to start cutting back on those luxuries, well, that’s on them.

  24. As much as I believe in workers’ right to strike under less than stellar conditions, I’ve got to take issue with this one. With the state of economy right now, there are so many people out of work that it would be ridiculous and incredibly selfish to cause the loss of so many more jobs. Think of the crew members! The people who don’t have a ton of money in the bank to live on while another strike drags out!

    As far as my TV-watching goes, The Office is the only show I watch with any regularity. I do have to admit that my “have-to-see-it-multiple-times-the-day-it’s-released” attitude toward the show has waned already since the writers’ strike. Even though I still make it a point to watch every episode (as I’m really happy with the direction they’re taking this season) sometimes it waits until Friday or even the weekend now before I watch it. My guess is that with another strike, I may just end up losing interest altogether, and that makes me sad.

  25. ::SIGHS:::This news and ABC cancelling Pushing Daisies has made a terrible weekend for me. I cannot do another strike. Maybe, I can put my two televisions together, throw a quilt over it and make a nice living room table out of it.

  26. Now that’s just selfish. Why on Earth do those actors need even MORE money? Some of us are living on a teacher’s salary like me, or worse. In this economy, the actors aren’t the ones that need money.

  27. Can someone explain to me why SAG thinks it should get more than the writers, directors, and the other actors union that have already signed contracts with similar terms? In this economy, SAG will get little support from the public on this. It will put tons of people out of work in California, again. How can they justify it? Not to mention that the writer’s strike put a serious hurt on people’s TV viewing habits, to the point that many people just didn’t resume watching shows. What good will a better contract do actors if they can’t find work because no one cares to watch it anymore?

    I seriously hope they do not vote to strike. It will come around and bite them, I think.

  28. Please tell me what an ACTOR would be striking about? Don’t they get paid enough? Can’t they deal with their existing contract?

  29. I don’t think it’s fair to be less supportive of the actors just because their strike is coming second. It’s not like they’re just jumping on th strike bandwagon or something- the SAG strike talk stems from problems that have existed since before the WGA strike.
    Still, I’m hoping this works itself out somehow without losing some of the season. But no matter what, no one can take away our Christmas episode this time.

  30. I agree that there could not be a worse possible time to strike. Back before the summer, when a SAG strike was rumored and the Dow wasn’t losing 500 points everyday, I wasn’t too concerned because I was pretty sure that if the SAG did strike, they would be paid whatever they wanted pretty quickly. I can’t even imagine the blow our economy would take from a SAG strike.

  31. You would think that with the economy like it is, and with Hollywood so worried about people paying for entertainment, that they wouldn’t even think about something like this right now! It’s not like they don’t make a decent amount of money :) AND, how could they do this to us, two years in a row? Sigh… :)

  32. I am not dumb. I understand that the SAG is made up of many many people–most of whom are struggling actors. BUT, I don’t understand how a huge industry striking after the WGA already fought for the key issues will help the ‘struggling actor’. I don’t understand how the studios could have denied actors the same things they offered the writers and directors. Did they? If they offered them what the writers/directors/etc. received, then there really is no excuse for a strike.

    I guess it’s hard for me to give sympathy when I see so many people struggling to even get and keep a job right now.

  33. #51 (Jon):

    I get the reasoning behind a strike, and I think most people do as well. BUT, you have to admit that this is just not the time to do this. We are in a horrible economic mess (obviously). Not the time to fight this fight.

  34. What a horrible time to strike. I wish I could support this, but it just seems selfish at this time in America when the economy is going down the toilet.

  35. Unfortunately, if this happens the face of the SAG strike will be the big name actors we all see on TV and in the movies. Everyone will probably not even realize that they make up a small percentage of SAG. I guess that’s just the way we look at things.

    But still, no strike! Yet 90,000 votes doesn’t seem that difficult to get.

  36. No! God, please, no! Noooooooooooo! God….NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
    I don’t know what I’d do with another shortened season.

  37. The key concept here is context. We are in the worst economy since the great depression. The whole idea is to respond inside of the limits of our current economy and its context. I understand there are actors that need the residuals; that makes complete sense. But, renegotiate later down the line when there’s some leeway for this kind of thing. It’s like being between a rock and a hard place for the AMPTP. Moguls are bleeding money left and right, and the idea is to cut costs, not increase them. Look at it from both sides before making an assumption or conclusion.

  38. I support the actors in this thing but I wish both sides of this thing would put their egos aside and hammer out an agreement. Because a strike wouldn’t be good for the below the line people, 90% of the SAG membership that are working actors and the various industries that depend on the film industry. Many of those people won’t be able to take a strike given this economy.

  39. I was thinking about this, and honestly, I’m not sure that TV can take another strike. Ratings are down already this year because people simply stopped watching during the last one. Another huge break and people may stop watching altogether.

    Even if the majority of SAG members are not raking in the money, I highly doubt that the general public is going to be too sympathetic towards this turn of events.

  40. It kind of makes me wonder though. I’m against this upcoming SAG strike. But if the AMPTP isn’t honoring the contract they made with the writers, it sort of questions whether a strike would even work.

  41. WHOA! I can see there is a HUGE misconception here! JON said it exactly right in comments #51 & #55. Understand, a strike is NOT in the interest of movie/TV stars. The people that have 5 homes or 3 cars are NOT the people this affects. It’s in the interest of the struggling actors whose work comes few and far between.
    Most people work 9 to 5 and get their paycheck like clockwork. Acting work is VERY difficult to get and when you do get lucky, it’s still a feast or famine existence. Some actors rely on residual checks for OVER HALF their income!
    As an actor, I’m offended that there seems to be this double-standard, a sort of “us/them” mentality when it comes to supporting those who are in a profession that is unconventional. Actors are just trying to make a living like everyone else. I’m not saying a strike is a good idea at this time. I’m just asking that people think twice before putting down the issues that are important to fellow Americans to earn their living too. I’m sure there wouldn’t be such backlash if we were talking about a factory union striking or something.

  42. You ought to look at the following short video produced in Cologne, Germany by TV Star Andreas Stenschke. It points to what is at stake for writers, actors and directors regarding the potential loss of income when reruns of TV shows and movies go to the Internet rather than on cable and broadcast TV, where they currently show. It is particularly relevant as the Writers Guild is now in a battle with the AMPTP over their reneging of the Internet residual formula agreed to at the end of the strike in February.

    Link to the video

    The Europeans’ (and other international artists) situation is absurd and the AMPTP producers and networks would like nothing more than to remake that as their modus operandi on our shores as well.

  43. #55 (Jon)

    I don’t buy that it’s not the SAG’s fault. How can practically every other major group reach an agreement with the AMPTP and SAG not? Yes, big corporations are greedy but ultimately they win I’m afraid. The SAG needs to make the necessary concessions and sign a contract! It is a shame that actors may not get fully what they deserve, but try to do that the next time the contract comes up for renewal.

  44. Apparently, the AMPTP isn’t honoring the agreement they reached with the writers, so even if SAG strikes there is no guarantee they’ll get a better deal. I support them, it just seems like a self destructive move at this point, given the state of the economy.

  45. I really feel that the majority of us understand that SAG is made up of smaller struggling people (as I said in my last post), but it’s really hard for someone like me that has to watch my father fight for his job when he’s only a couple years from retirement and sympathize with people who are lucky to have a job. I don’t care if you are a coal miner or an actor; most people would not support any type of strike during this time when people are struggling to keep their jobs as is.

  46. I’ll support the actors if they strike, but I’m not too worried yet. The education campaign and vote are really just another stage in the negotiation process. I did read in the Globe and Mail that it will take about a month to even organize a vote: “SAG’s national board has already authorized its negotiating committee to call for a strike authorization vote if mediation failed. The vote would take more than a month and require more than 75 per cent approval to pass.” Hopefully this will give enough time for a deal to be reached.

  47. I didn’t start watching “The Office” until last summer. I caught most of Season 3 on TBS on Tuesday nights and about half of Season 4 by way of summer reruns on NBC. Earlier this fall, I bought the entire Season 2 on DVD as a “back-up plan” for lean times such as another strike. Since I don’t know all there is to know about the acting/writing business, I am hesitant to pass judgment on anyone at this time. I just hope that everything can be worked out soon among all parties affected and that a strike is only taken as a last resort. I hope that my Season 2 DVD’s will be more than just a “rainy day fund” and that I can enjoy Season 5 in its own right as well.

  48. with regards to comments that sag should worry about this the next time or that they should fight for their residuals at a later date: these are multi-year contracts being negotiated and agreed to. once sag agrees to the terms they are locked in until the contract comes up for renegotiation. that won’t be for years and on top of that, if they fold now they will have no bargaining leverage in the future. the executives aren’t going to turn around and give them residuals at a later date that they agreed to go without now – that is not how it works. believe me i NO NOT want a strike but we need to understand it is more complicated than that.

  49. The internet is NOT making money for the studios that want to experiment and find out how to profit by making low-budget productions for internet use and maybe even bump them up to TV if they’re successful. Get it? THERE IS NO MONEY IN IT YET. It is at least one – maybe two – contract cycles before SAG can point at profits and say “Hey, pay us too!” Striking now is a terrible waste for everyone.

  50. Same greedy story as the writers’ strike, it really is.

    While I support workers’ rights and all that, I would like to know what makes people in “unconventional” occupations so important that they play by their own set of rules. There are such things as occupational hazards and pitfalls – one such pitfall is some occupations just don’t make that much money unless you’re hyper-successful. People out in Hollywood need to seriously get over themselves, especially in this current economic climate.

  51. #73 NardDog- I never implied that people in “unconventional occupations” are more important or should play by their own set of rules. That’s the opposite of my point. I was expressing my frustration that in many cases I feel actors are not validated as honest workers like the rest of Americans or treated with equal respect. It seems that somehow their right to fight for their living is negated because it’s “frivolous” or they just need to “get over themselves.” My father is just a couple years from retirement and it’s incredibly sad that he is struggling to keep his job, too. I understand occupational hazards. That’s the idea- actors have to make the most of each job they get and right now as JON illustrated in #74, the studios make an obscene amount of money from advertisers and exploit the work of all parties involved for as long as they’d like. Now THAT is greed. Again, I’m not saying a strike right now is a good idea or that people should support it. I’m just asking some to not put down so harshly the real concerns of those who are trying to pay their bills just like everyone else.

  52. I wonder what the others think. And they spelled Steve’s name wrong! But this is quite a list of names. I agree with the letter–now is not a good time for a strike.

  53. Isn’t the strike doomed? The studios are signing more deals with AFTRA the other actors’ union in LA and having two unions reduces SAG’s leverage. I’m not saying SAG is wrong, it is just that their tactics seem a bit counterproductive.

  54. I could be totally wrong, but I thought this possible strike was to benefit the ‘struggling actor’ type who make up the majority of SAG’s membership. People like the cast of The Office and many of the other actors on the list don’t need the extra cash. Again, I could be wrong, so please correct me. I’m not saying I’m for the strike, as this is probably the worst timing ever.

  55. Sticious, you’re right, but I live in LA and work with a couple of part-time/struggling actors, and they are against the strike too. For the reasons that #1) the economy is so bad right now and #2) Hollywood never even recovered from the Writers strike so the jobs aren’t even there for them. My friends are afraid that if SAG strikes hollywood might never really recover and they’ll never work as actors again, and for them, working for perhaps less pay/royalties than they deserve but still being able to act is better than not being able to act at all.

  56. Well, hopefully there is no strike… not just for The Office, but for my other favorite show, Pushing Daisies, which is getting cancelled soon and needs all the episodes it can get. If they don’t get to finish up the amazing storyline, I will collapse in sadness.

  57. Thanks, DJB. That makes sense. Although not striking may cause actors in new media projects to make a little less, it seems like the lesser of 2 evils.

  58. Yes Sticious, it’s ugly no matter which side “wins” – either the actors strike and a second consecutive season of TV and movies gets ruined and the Hollywood/LA economy sinks even more (people forget about the little cafes and dry cleaners and transportation contractors and things like that who don’t get to work during a strike either and truly can’t recover) or the actors settle for something less than what they feel they deserve. There’s no right answer here, we just have to hope for the best :/

  59. #63 says the strike is “in the interests of the struggling actors whose work comes few and far between”. Perhaps these struggling actors need to choose a different occupation or, like many others who are struggling, take another job to pay the bills.

  60. I’m pleased to see so many of this show’s stars come out against a strike right now. The writers strike really hurt TV ratings, and a follow-up actors strike could kill TV forever. Imagine reality shows 24/7. And I can’t comprehend how painful it would be for all of the peripheral workers and businesses who depend on Hollywood, especially since they probably haven’t recovered from the writers strike yet. Now is just not the time to do this.

  61. 84. Michelle:

    Pushing Daisies is done filming. There’s only about three episodes left and they are all finished. Hopefully they air sometime; I haven’t heard when they are scheduled.

    Regardless, I really hope this strike doesn’t happen. I respect people for standing up for what they believe in, but Hollywood doesn’t need this sort of thing AGAIN.

  62. #91 homemadeovenmittsworth- I was comment #63. You should know that these struggling actors that I speak of ALREADY have second jobs- sometimes even two or three to make ends meet.

    #97 AMS- All actors you see on TV or in movies who speak dialogue belong to SAG. It’s a strictly enforced rule. Many extras even belong to SAG. I don’t think because we haven’t heard from everyone in The Office cast (including Jenna) necessarily means they are for the strike. Although I would guess this might be an issue that hits close to home for the cast since many of them were in exactly the position of those who are taking issue before they landed The Office. They may just be choosing to stay out of the spotlight on the issue.

    I’m sure that although this is an important issue, most of the cast will have seen first hand how hard the strike was on everyone- including their beloved crew and will think twice before supporting a strike in this economy. It sucks for the actor with very legitimate arguments, but it’s probably better for the whole to wait out the three years. The timing is just bad.

  63. The last people a strike would help is struggling actors. The ones with good jobs can survive a strike and maybe end up with a bigger paycheck. The ones that barely have jobs as it is won’t be that lucky.

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