“We haven’t come this far to give up now”. More than 3600 members of the Screen Actors Guildthe American actors’ union on strike for over a hundred days against Hollywood Studios, they signed an open letter in which they reiterated their determination to continue the protest which has blocked most film and television productions. The group of interpreters, called Members in Solidarityincludes among others Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Maya Hawke, Bryan Cranston, Jon Hamm, Mark Ruffalo, Pedro Pascal and Cynthia Nixon. “We didn’t go without work, without pay, and we didn’t walk picket lines for months only to give up everything we’re fighting for. We can’t and we will not accept a contract that fails to address the vital and existential problems that we all need solved” we read in the letter.
THE RESISTANCE OF THE ACTORS
The statement comes at a critical moment in the strike. Last week, George Clooney and some of the highest-paid actors in film and TV, including Scarlett Johansson, Bradley Cooper, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Aniston, Robert De Niro and Ben Affleck, offered to eliminate the cap on SAG’s annual membership fee. AFTRA to replenish the union’s coffers out of its own pocket. However, President Fran Drescher rejected the proposal, which would have violated labor law and would have had no lasting impact on the collective agreement. As explained by Variety, since then discontent has spread, because many interpreters are said to be impatient to start working again. The letter does not ignore this awareness: “In any union, there will always be a minority that is unwilling to make temporary sacrifices for the common good. But we, the majority who predominantly voted to authorize this strike, we are still in solidarity, ready to strike for as long as it takes and to endure whatever we must to get a deal that is worthy of our collective sacrifice. We know that our union leaders are doing everything in their power to achieve that goal as they negotiate in good faith with the companies to reach a new contract that will protect us and our fellow artists, now and for generations to come.” .
Two weeks after the Studios’ removal from the negotiating table due to the excessive gap on numerous issues between the two parties, on Tuesday the producers’ associations have resumed negotiations with SAG-AFTRA with a new offerwhich are currently underway.