Actors on the SAG-AFTRA Picket Line Express Cautious Optimism Ahead of Renewed Negotiation - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Actors on the SAG-AFTRA Picket Line Express Cautious Optimism Ahead of Renewed Negotiation

September 30, 2023 by  

SAG Aftra strike interviews

Jeri Ryan, a SAG-AFTRA support sign attached to a food truck, and Ellen Crawford. (Photo credits: Marisa Roffman/Give Me My Remote)

With SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP set to start negotiating on a new contract on Monday, October 2—days after the WGA secured their new three-year deal—the picket line at Warner Bros. was overflowing with supporters on Friday, September 29.

“It finally feels like we’re in the home stretch,” Jeri Ryan (STAR TREK: PICARD/VOYAGER) tells Give Me My Remote. “I think the studios finally get they don’t have a choice. They have to make this work; they have to. The greed is not working for them. It’s not working for us. It’s not working for anyone. And I think they finally had their little ‘come to Jesus’ moment, and they realize that reality has to sink in and you’ve got to make a deal.”

“I have so much trust in our terrific negotiating team,” adds Ellen Crawford (ER, BOOMERS). “They’re really amazing. And I know that they’re not going to stop until they get a deal that is viable. I’m excited. I’m hopeful. And I feel confident that they will make sure we have a good deal.”

Like the writers before them, the actors have a lot of issues on the table, including decreasing residuals (and lower payment in general) and a gaggle of AI concerns.

“It’s not a one-issue thing,” Ryan says. “We’re working under a contract for an industry that doesn’t exist anymore. This whole streaming model that they foisted on us—that was not our choice, that was their choice—and whether it’s a viable business model for them or not, that’s not on us. Most of our union can’t make healthcare—87 percent! I think it’s $26,000 a year you have to make to qualify. So you can’t live in Los Angeles and pay your rent and feed your family on a writer or an actor’s salary now for most of our union. And it’s got to change.”

Mayor Konstantine Anthony SAG-AFTRA picket

Mayor Konstantine Anthony with picketers. (Photo credit: Marisa Roffman.)

The striking actors were joined by writers (including a food truck donated by a trio of showrunners), as well as members of IATSE and The Animation Guild, plus Latinas Acting Up. (Striking hotel workers and Burbank mayor Konstantine Anthony also came by to show support, too.)

“Every time you have Latinas Acting Up here, it’s wild and wonderful,” Crawford says. “But we also have the other unions showing up—IATSE, animation guild, teamsters. It’s just been amazing, the support. [And with] UAW[‘s auto strike] going on, we have all these unions saying enough is enough. And what’s great is that we’re realizing it for each other. To see them out here is fantastic.”

“The entire labor movement is very much behind this,” she adds. “And we’re very much behind them. And I see this as not a problem just with our industry, but with all industries, with all workers. It’s a global problem now. It’s been escalating in the last 10 years. It’s outrageous, and it’s unsustainable as an economy, to have that kind of income inequality. As Ford used to say, ‘I have to pay my workers enough so that they can buy a car.’ And I think they’ve forgotten that. That’s what’s important to me: it seems like the entire world is beginning to realize this is unacceptable, economically, culturally, ethically, in every way.”

Both Ryan and Crawford have been regulars on the picket lines—Ryan, on various lots since the writers started striking, and Crawford serving as a captain at WB—and plan to continue as needed. 

“This has been my career—my entire career,” Ryan says. “And it’s important that this remains viable as a career. This is what my daughter wants to do. This is for the next generation. This is not just for us. We’re not out here striking for millionaires. We’re out here striking for 99 percent of our union and the Writers Guild and all the other unions. We want to make a living. And that’s increasingly not a viable opportunity. This is a critical point for us; we don’t have a choice. We have to be out here. And I’m so excited that the writers got their deal; I’m so proud that they stood so strong. I’ve been with them at the beginning of their strike and, and they’re out here with us still, and it’s beautiful. We got IATSE out here today, we have animators, we have hotel workers. I mean, it’s just pretty amazing.”

“What makes it important for me is that I’m in good shape—I’m older; my contract matched the business model,” Crawford adds. “My husband and I are both actors, we were able to have pensions, put kids through college, buy a home. I don’t see that for my younger friends. There’s not a path to a profession, because the contract does not match the business model. It has to be a complete transformation. It’s not fair. We should be able to work as an actor or as a writer—I’m happy that they settled—as a profession and make a living.”


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Filed under Strike


2 Responses to “Actors on the SAG-AFTRA Picket Line Express Cautious Optimism Ahead of Renewed Negotiation”

  1. Lex on September 30th, 2023 2:57 pm

    Last I heard, SAG-AFTRA is meeting on the 2nd, as you said, but that’s Monday. Might be a typo?

  2. Marisa Roffman on September 30th, 2023 4:09 pm

    You are correct! Fixed. (x2 😂) Appreciate it!