Speaking to CNN on Thursday, shortly after SAG-AFTRA announced it had reached a historic agreement to end the actors’ strike, SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher told CNN anchor Kate Bolduan that the union’s success was “a labor movement around the world.”
Reports of the 118-day strike made headlines from Spain to Seoul and from London, Ontario to London, England. Unions representing actors and other entertainment professionals largely stood in solidarity with their U.S. counterparts and were quick to congratulate SAG-AFTRA as it secured a new, tentative three-year deal. Many also look to the United States for inspiration for their own labor struggles.
“We are extremely proud of SAG-AFTRA for taking on this incredible fight for all artists around the world,” said Gabrielle Carteris, the former president of SAG-AFTRA who now heads the International Federation of Actors (FIA), a global federation of actors. artist unions and guilds representing hundreds of thousands of artists in more than 60 countries around the world. “Streaming and AI are global realities within our industry that impact the future of work and our ability as actors to earn a meaningful living wage.”
FIA Secretary General Dominick Luquer said SAG-AFTRA’s achievement will “undoubtedly strengthen the resolve of artists’ unions around the world to continue to fight with courage and confidence for higher standards, respect and equality, and to help each other in a globalized industry.”
Producers around the world welcomed the end of the American actors’ strike. “(It’s) a positive development for the entire film industry,” said Martin Moskowitz, CEO of German mini-major Constantin Film, producers of the Residential evil franchise. “We are confident that we can now quickly resume projects that have been paused or postponed due to the strike (especially) productions that involve an international cast or rely on collaboration with US partners.”
But there are concerns in some quarters that the labor disputes that have culminated in the US could now go global.
“I was in Europe a few weeks ago, and they are starting to converge in Europe too,” said Lourdes Diaz, Chief Creative Officer at independent production group AGC Studios (Hitman, Woman of the Hour), speaking at the American Film Market on November 2. “So there will be more unrest.”
Just a week after the SAG-AFTRA strike began in July, Paul Fleming, the head of British actors’ union Equity, spoke at a solidarity rally in London and declared that his organization was “ready for the attack” ahead of upcoming negotiations with British producers. Union PACT. Speak with The Hollywood Reporter on November 10, he said this is a position his organization still maintains.
“We want to be around the table around Easter with a comprehensive claim, and then we’ll see how quickly and how well that goes,” Fleming said, adding that Equity has planned a “range of tactics” on how to approach this. take industrial action if “the negotiations do not lead to a reasonable outcome.”
Any British dispute would likely come to a head around the summer of 2024. “Hopefully it won’t come to that,” Fleming said, noting that Britain’s restrictive industrial relations laws make calling a strike a more complicated process than in the United States. US
Strikes and other labor actions are less common among international entertainment unions, in part because global guilds have traditionally exerted less influence over the major studios and local production companies than their Hollywood compatriots. The structure of the entertainment industry also varies from country to country, as do the demands of employees. For example, healthcare is less of an issue in Europe, where free or state-sponsored care is widespread.
But SAG-AFTRA’s fight is resonating with actors worldwide, who see similar threats to their livelihoods.
“Basically, workers need a raise, inflation is rampant, and the industry is doing damn well and the workforce is not sharing that proportionately,” Fleming said.
AI is another major issue, with creators concerned that unless strict artificial intelligence regulations are put in place, the studios and streamers could appropriate their work or likenesses without proper permission or compensation.
Marie Kelly, national director and chief negotiator of ACTRA, the Canadian actors’ union, said THR it looks ahead to negotiations starting in mid-2024 on a new labor agreement for its members with North American producers. She said her base will be ready for the fight if the local industry plays hardball like the major studios and streamers did with SAG-AFTRA.
“In Canada, artists face many, many of the same issues as artists in the US,” Kelly said THRincluding the need to erect fences around new artificial intelligence tools to protect actors, fair compensation after the streaming era has drastically reduced back-end or residual payments and inflation has eroded wage strength.
“These three issues are big issues for artists here in Canada. They will be front and center along with other issues when we meet with the industry next year,” Kelly said ahead of negotiations on a new independent production agreement, which will govern terms and conditions of employment for Canadian actors.
She adds that ACTRA still needs to see and study the new SAG-AFTRA deal with the AMPTP to assess whether the U.S. agreement can provide a template for contract renewal talks between Canadian actors and producers next year.
But Kelly points out that ACTRA members remained steadfast in the face of an 18-month commercial lockout by the Institute of Canadian Agencies, which represents domestic advertising agencies, as evidence of the Canadian union’s resolve ahead of the upcoming IPA talks with North America. producers.
“I hope the industry wants stability and will understand that artists are generally willing to stand up for these issues and that we can have constructive conversations that can lead to a deal, and that they should also know that Canadian artists are not are scammers. We are easy to work with, but hard to fight,” she said.
In 2007, ACTRA called on its members to strike after talks with North American producers over a new IPA deal hit the thorny issue of new media residue.
In countries such as Britain and Canada, where local industries rely heavily on servicing visiting Hollywood productions, the desire for further industrial action may be less keen.
A recent survey of 4,000 freelancers by British trade union Bectu found that 80 percent had their employment directly affected by the SAG-AFTRA strike, with three-quarters unemployed.
“There will be no desire among actors, filmmakers and crew to strike again once we get back to work,” said British producer Jonathan Weissler. “We don’t really have a British film industry, we have a concierge service for American studios and streamers. So we don’t want to bite the hand that feeds us.”
But Fleming claims that, at least among his members, he hasn’t seen any “wavering” of any kind, and that they all complied when Equity oversaw American productions in Britain to ensure they couldn’t recast with non-SAG -AFTRA. actors.
“People are screwed by their bosses 365 days a year, every year of their working lives,” he says. “Facing hardships due to 118 days of strike is a drop in the ocean.”