Hollywood actors agree to federal mediation with strike threat looming
With contract talks stalled and the possibility of a strike inching closer, the union representing Hollywood actors announced late Tuesday that it had agreed to the studios' request for federal mediation to try to bridge the divide.
SAG-AFTRA, which represents thousands of actors in film and television, said that it had agreed to a "last-minute request for federal mediation" from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the group that represents all major Hollywood studios.
"We are committed to the negotiating process and will explore and exhaust every possible opportunity to make a deal, however we are not confident that the employers have any intention of bargaining toward an agreement," SAG-AFTRA said in a statement.
Variety was first to report that the AMPTP had asked for help from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
SAG-AFTRA's current contract, which has already been extended once from its previous deadline of July 1, is set to expire at midnight Wednesday. Union members have already given leadership the authority to call a strike if no agreement is reached.
The last-minute negotiation effort comes amid an ongoing strike by the approximately 11,000 members of the Writers Guild of America. While the WGA's strike, which began in May, has slowed Hollywood, an actors' strike would likely bring the industry to its knees, shuttering nearly all production.
It would mark the first Screen Actors Guild strike since 2000, and the first time both the WGA and the Screen Actors Guild would be on strike simultaneously since 1960. The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists merged in 2012.
Some of the major contract issues for both actors and writers have included residuals from streaming and the use of artificial intelligence.
SAG-AFTRA has approximately 160,000 members, while the AMPTP represents Warner Bros. Discovery, NBC Universal, Sony, Netflix, and CBS News' parent company, Paramount.