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Hollywood actors’ union sets strike vote for Thursday as talks break down | CBC News

The union representing film and television actors says no deal has been reached with studios and streaming services and its leadership will vote on whether to strike later Thursday.

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists said early Thursday that its decision on whether to join already striking screenwriters will be weighed upon by leadership at a meeting later Thursday.

If the actors go on strike, it will be the first time since 1960 that actors and writers picket film and television productions.

The actors’ guild released a statement early Thursday announcing that its deadline for negotiations to conclude had ended without a contract. The statement came hours after this year’s Emmy nominations, recognizing the best work on television, were announced.

“The companies have refused to meaningfully engage on some topics and on others completely stonewalled us. Until they do negotiate in good faith, we cannot begin to reach a deal,” said Fran Drescher, the actors’ guild president.

There was no immediate word from the studios’ negotiating group.

The actors’ guild has previously authorized a strike by a nearly 98 per cent margin. If the actors strike, they will formally join screenwriters on the picket lines outside studios and filming locations in a bid to get better terms from studios and streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon.

Stars Damon, Chastain support move

Members of the Writers Guild of America have been on strike since early May, slowing the production of film and television series on both coasts and in other production centres. Issues in negotiations include the unregulated use of artificial intelligence and the effects on residual pay brought on by the streaming ecosystem that has emerged in recent years. Actors have joined writers on picket lines for weeks in solidarity.

An actors’ strike would prevent performers from working on sets or promoting their projects.

WATCH l ‘I think they’ve kicked the hornet’s nest’: SAG-AFTRA member:

Hollywood actors union threatens to strike

SAG-AFTRA, the largest union in Hollywood that represents 160,000 actors, says it is poised to strike if a deal is not reached with major film and television studios by midnight on Thursday morning. With the Writers Guild of America already picketing, simultaneous action by SAG-AFTRA would result in Hollywood’s first double strike since 1960.

Attending a photo event on Wednesday, star Matt Damon said that while everyone was hoping a strike could be averted, many actors need a fair contract to survive.

“We ought to protect the people who are kind of on the margins,” Damon told The Associated Press. “And 26,000 bucks a year is what you have to make to get your health insurance. And there are a lot of people whose residual payments are what carry them across that threshold. And if those residual payments dry up, so does their health care. And that’s absolutely unacceptable. We can’t have that. So, we got to figure out something that is fair.”

The looming strike has cast a shadow over the upcoming 75th Emmys. Nominations were announced Wednesday, and the strike was on the mind of many nominees.

“People are standing up and saying, ‘This doesn’t really work, and people need to be paid fairly,'” Oscar-winner Jessica Chastain, who was nominated for her first Emmy Award on Wednesday for playing Tammy Wynette in George & Tammy, told the AP.

“It is very clear that there are certain streamers that have really kind of changed the way we work and the way that we have worked, and the contracts really haven’t caught up to the innovation that’s happened.”

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