Some members of the Screen Actors Guild — American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have written a letter to union leadership urging the negotiating committee not to settle with the Hollywood studios on a deal that does not represent their demands.
The letter, which was shared with CNN, expresses concern that “this is an unprecedented inflection point in our industry, and what might be considered a good deal in any other years is simply not enough.”
“We feel that our wages, our craft, our creative freedom, and the power of our union have all been undermined in the last decade. We need to reverse those trajectories,” the letter continued.
Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Quinta Brunson, Rami Malek, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Brendan Fraser, Neil Patrick Harris, Ben Stiller and Amy Schumer are among the more than 300 top-tier actors to sign the letter, according to a source who shared the text of the letter with CNN, which was first reported by Rolling Stone.
CNN has reached out to SAG-AFTRA requesting comment on the letter.
CNN previously reported that members of SAG-AFTRA voted to authorize a strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the entity representing the major studios, if a new contract isn’t reached by the time their current deal ends on June 30.
Last week, SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher said in a video update that negotiations with AMPTP have been “extremely productive,” a sentiment that members of SAG-AFTRA appear concerned with.
Tuesday’s letter goes on to state that those who signed it are prepared to strike “if it comes to that,” citing their awareness that a strike “brings incredible hardships to so many, and no one wants it.”
The letter comes as members of the Writers Guild of America have been on strike since May after failing to reach an agreement with AMPTP on terms of a new contract.
Among a host of demands that the WGA felt were not being met in fairness by the studios, a major point of contention has been the use of artificial intelligence.
Similar concerns on the use of AI have been floated as SAG-AFTRA’s negotiations with the studios continue, with a portion of the actors’ letter to the guild detailing how vital this specific topic is.
“We think it is absolutely vital that this negotiation protects not just our likenesses, but makes sure we are well compensated when any of our work is used to train AI,” the letter stated, in part.
The letter also continued to say that those who signed it ”would rather go on strike than compromise on these fundamental points,” and believe that if the union settles for anything less, “the future of our union and our craft will be undermined.”