In a video posted Tuesday on Twitter, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Kumail Nanjiani and several other stars called SAG-AFTRA members to vote in favor of authorizing an actors’ strike ahead of the guild’s negotiations with studios next month.
“I’m asking you to join me in voting ‘yes’ on the strike authorization,” Louis-Dreyfus says in the video, which she posted on Twitter under the caption “We’re a union, and a union stands together!”
Joining Louis-Dreyfus and Nanjiani were Paul W. Downs, Abbi Jacobson, Sophia Bush, Jean Smart, John DiMaggio, Aaron Jennings, Coral Peña, Bob Balaban, Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Matt Bush, Jodi Balfour, Lukas Gage, Tom Pelphrey Sam Richardson and D’Arcy Carden. Watch the clip below.
The guild is set to begin talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on June 7. Guild leadership is asking members for permission to go on strike should talks between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP break down, as talks between AMPTP and the Writers Guild of America did on May 2, sparking the ongoing writers’ strike.
Ahead of negotiations, on May 17 the guild’s board formally asked members for permission to strike, should negotiators deem it necessary. As a sign of where membership might be, the board acted unanimously.
Participants in the video emphasized that voting to authorize a strike doesn’t mean a strike will happen, only that the guild doesn’t have to seek further permission and can use that possibility as leverage.
“A ‘yes’ vote,” Smart said during the clip, “just means that we give the national board the power to strike if the AMPTP does not give our members the essential contract improvements they need.”
“It is simply a tool in our arsenal,” Nanjiani adds.
Much like the demands of the WGA, the actors in the video call for increased compensation and residuals, along with the restriction of artificial intelligence.
“We also need protections against the unregulated use of our likeness and voices in AI,” actor Rafael Casal said.
The SAG-AFTRA negotiations come at a tense moment in Hollywood, as there is a very real possibility the studios could find themselves amid a strike by multiple powerful unions at once. In addition to SAG-AFTRA, the Directors Guild of America also has a contract with AMPTP that expires June 30 — the groups have been negotiating since May 10.