Actors “Walked Away” From $1 Billion in Historic Strike

( – Members of the actor union, SAG-AFTRA, have joined the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in its months-long battle over the future of the motion picture industry. Their union president, Fran Drescher, announced the decision during a live press conference on July 13. The move allegedly comes despite a $1 billion offer from major production companies, which Drescher denounced as “egregious and disgusting.”

The historic strike is about more than money, according to SAG-AFTRA leaders, who claimed they’re “fighting for the survival of [their] profession.” Industry leaders reportedly offered actors a 5% wage increase within a year of signing their new contract, but the union said that wasn’t enough. They had asked for an 11% pay increase, citing inflation behind the figure, along with higher benefits and added language in their agreement that would protect them against unauthorized AI use.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers claims the actors’ union rejected a sweet deal that totaled over $1 billion dollars. The offer reportedly included increases in residuals, pensions, health contributions, and “first-of-their-kind protections” that would specifically cover AI issues.

The WGA started its strike on May 2 after film companies refused to alter agreements to compensate for the financial losses writers say they’ve faced from changes in the industry. They argue that streaming services have left many long-standing professionals working for minimum pay, which hasn’t kept up with inflation. To adjust for those changes, the WGA wants increased wages on all platforms, better residuals, higher pension and healthcare contributions, and improved overall protections.

The SAG-AFTRA strike, and its members’ apparent solidarity with the WGA’s cause, could offer its sister industry a life-saving boost. Vulture explains that studio executives were reportedly content to wait out the WGA strike with unscripted and foreign content while writers’ reserves went dry — but they may have a harder time surviving long-term without the support of their A-list actors.

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