Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Sarah Polley, and Kevin Bacon are among a group of high-profile SAG-AFTRA members who have signed a letter urging leadership to fight for the best possible deal in ongoing contract talks or go on strike.
More than 300 actors are understood to have signed the letter, which comes as the Guild’s top negotiators and their counterparts at Alliance Of Motion Picture And Television Producers (AMPTP) are in the final days of talks before the current three-year contract expires at midnight on June 30.
Outlining the key demands under discussion including residuals commensurate with the streaming age and the impact of artificial intelligence, the letter argued for a hard line in talks.
“We want you to know that we would rather go on strike than compromise on these fundamental points,” it read, “and we believe that, if we settle for a less than transformative deal, the future of our union and our craft will be undermined, and SAG-AFTRA will enter the next negotiation with drastically reduced leverage.
“This is not a moment to meet in the middle, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that the eyes of history are on all of us. We ask you to push for the protections and changes we deserve, and to make history in the process. If you’re not able get there, we ask you to use the power that has been given to you by the membership and join the WGA picket line. We hope that you will not miss this moment. We hope that, on our behalf, you will meet that moment and not miss it.”
In the last few days SAG-AFTRA leadership told Guild members that talks had been “extremely productive” and they remained hopeful of a strike-averting deal.
SAG-AFTRA members have voted overwhelmingly to strike should leadership call one. The combination of industrial action and a writers’ strike, now in its ninth week, will bring Hollywood to a grinding stop.