The union for Australian screen crew and performers, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), fully supports Hollywood actors and screenwriters in their industrial action for better work contracts.
MEAA conveys its solidarity to members of SAG-AFTRA who will go on strike from 12.01am on Friday (US West Coast Time) after a breakdown in negotiations with Hollywood studios.
MEAA Chief Executive Erin Madeley said the issues that SAG-AFTRA members are striking over – including fair compensation from streaming services and constraints around the use of Artificial Intelligence – are universal for actors around the world.
“Streaming services are raking in billions of dollars in revenue and earnings as their audiences continue to grow but these profits are not being shared fairly with actors,” she said.
“Although series budgets are increasing, that increase is not being reflected in the share of the money going to performers. Residuals – payments for the reuse of their work – are also much smaller on streamers compared to broadcast TV rates.
“In addition, artificial intelligence poses a new threat to the livelihoods of actors around the world and there need to be agreed rules around its use.”
“Performers see their jobs as especially vulnerable to new technology, with generative AI able to replicate facial expressions, body movement and voice with alarming accuracy. We don’t want robots telling our stories in place of humans.”
“SAG-AFTRA members have our solidarity because their struggle is our struggle and a win in Hollywood will set the standard for improvements for screen performers around the world.”
“We call on the major Hollywood studios to negotiate in good faith to resolve the issues and meanwhile will be urging MEAA members to publicly show their support for their performer and writer colleagues in the US.”
“A small number of productions currently underway in Australia may be impacted by the SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes.”
“MEAA representatives are in dialogue with the producers of those productions and will advise crew and performer members of their rights if work is interrupted by the strikes,” said Erin Madeley.
For more information on the SAG-AFTRA Strike, visit: www.meaa.org for details.
Image: SAG-AFTRA Press Conference – courtesy of MEAA