Yesterday, the studios that make up the AMPTP – Warner Bros., Netflix, Apple, Paramount, Sony, Amazon, Disney and NBCUniversal, were so confident that SAG-AFTRA would agree to their “last, best and final” offer and end the 118-day-old strike, that some TV series began the process of taking crew off of hold and began booking.
According to insiders, Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy began alerting crew to report to work on Monday, November 27 in preparation for a mid-January production start. There was also chatter in Los Angeles and Chicago among the crew of other shows that they, too, were on the verge of returning to work. Now that SAG-AFTRA responded negatively to the proposal, specifically in regard to the use of AI, that date may be tabled for now.
“Dear SAG-AFTRA Members,
This morning our negotiators formally responded to the AMPTP’s “Last, Best & Final” offer.
Please know every member of our TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee is determined to secure the right deal and thereby bring this strike to an end responsibly.
There are several essential items on which we still do not have an agreement, including AI. We will keep you informed as events unfold.”TV/Theatrical Negotiating CommitteeTV
The union is challenging an AI clause in the studios’ latest offer. The studios proposed securing AI scans for Schedule F performers, who earn more than the minimum for series regulars and feature films.
Under this clause, studios and streamers would have to pay to scan the likeness of Schedule F performers. However, SAG-AFTRA is pushing for compensation for the re-use of AI scans and is also advocating for the requirement of securing consent from the performer. The current AMPTP offer allows studios and streamers to use scans of deceased performers without the consent of their estate or SAG-AFTRA.
This issue has become a major point of contention in the ongoing strike, with SAG-AFTRA highlighting that it is essential for the sustainability of the performance industry. The union has worked on a counteroffer, which includes removing the Schedule F AI language and is seeking to address other no-money items in the negotiations.
The union’s chief negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, is set to meet with the studios’ counterpart, Carol Lombardini, to discuss these concerns.
The AI clause has added complexity to the negotiations, as it involves both financial and consent-related considerations, affecting a wide range of performers. SAG-AFTRA remains committed to protecting the rights and interests of its members throughout the strike.
In the meantime, SAG-AFTRA continues its picketing efforts in New York and Los Angeles, with scheduled picketing activities through Thursday and a planned day off on Friday for Veterans Day. The situation remains fluid, and further developments are expected in the ongoing strike.
For Reel 360 News’ full strike coverage, click here.