Meryl Streep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jennifer Lawrence and hundreds of other high-profile actors have signed a targeted letter telling the SAG-AFTRA leadership that they are ready to strike to make a “transformative deal.”
In the message sent to the union leadership and its negotiating committee, the A-lister coalition – which also includes Lena Waithe, Laura Linney, Sarah Polley, Quinta Brunson and more – said that “a strike will bring incredible hardship to so many, and no one wants it. But we are ready to strike when it comes down to it.” Calling 2023 an “unprecedented turning point in our industry,” the group said, “what might be considered good in other years is just not enough.” Rolling stone was the first to report on the letter.
The letter, which circulated Tuesday, raised concerns that “SAG-AFTRA members may be willing to make sacrifices that leadership is not.” The group added: “We feel that our wages, our craft, our creative freedom and the strength of our union have all been undermined in the past decade. We need to reverse those trajectories.”
This cautionary note came just days after union president Fran Drescher and national executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) had been “extremely productive” so far. The union and the AMPTP, which negotiates on behalf of entertainment companies, are currently racing against time to strike a deal as the June 30 expiration date for the union’s TV/theatrical contracts approaches.
The letter concluded, “This is not a time to meet halfway, and it is no exaggeration to say that the eyes of history are upon us all.” We ask that you push for all the changes we need and the protections we deserve and to make history by doing so. If you are unable to make it all the way there, we ask that you use the power given to you by us, the membership, and join the WGA on the picket lines.
More to come.