Union members took the picket lines to the state capital this week as the actors’ strike enters its third week with no deal in sight.
“We’re responsible for the biggest box office movies in the last 20 years but we’re not getting our fair share,” said Pete Antica, Chair of Stunt Safety at SAG-AFTRA.
Stunt performers joined writers and actors on the picket lines on Thursday, also seeking higher residuals and royalty payments from studios for rerun shows.
“Stunt coordinators currently do not get residuals in that particular deal so they can work three different contracts breaking them down in advance, 15 hours a day and they’re so busy that all the performers make more money than them,” Antica said.
In Sacramento, about 100 SAG-AFTRA members picketed outside the front steps of the California State Capitol.
“People think that actors are all rich people and stars,” said Kathryn Howell, President of SAG-AFTRA San Francisco-Northern California Local. “But the majority of us are not. We go from job to job and we need to be compensated fairly for that.”
Without steady work or a paycheck, many are struggling to pay rent or afford groceries while also unable to receive unemployment insurance benefits.
On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom said he has contacted all sides involved in the strike and is offering to help broker a deal to restart an industry that is crucial to the state’s economy.
Among the items union members from SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America are seeking are higher pay, better health insurance, higher residuals from streaming and protections around the use of artificial intelligence to ensure their work is not replicated without their consent and compensation.
Actor and SAG member, Anthony Abate, showed KTLA an example of a residual check he received which amounted to one penny.
“We’re not asking for an arm and a leg here,” he said. “We’re asking for a living wage. We’re asking for health insurance. We’re asking for the ability to send our kids to college.”
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents major studios and streaming companies, claims the unions representing actors and writers rejected offers for better pay and residual increases for streaming content.
The unions, however, insist the offers were simply not a fair contract.
“It’s clear that the sides are still far apart, but [Newsom] is deeply concerned about the impact a prolonged strike can have on the regional and state economy,” said Anthony York, Newsom’s senior adviser for communications. He further noted “thousands of jobs depend directly or indirectly on Hollywood getting back to work,” including crew, staff and catering.
The last time the writers went on strike more than a decade ago, the 100-day work stoppage cost the state’s economy an estimated $2 billion,” according to the Associated Press.
The economic hit could be even bigger this time around now that actors have joined the picket lines, marking the first time both actors and writers are on strike together in over six decades.
On Thursday, Fox announced the 2023 Emmy Awards will be postponed from its initial air date of Sept. 18 amid the ongoing strike.