Alexei Rosenfeld/Getty Images
With the news that SAG/AMPTP negotiations may enter next week, the mostly international working unions are taking a cautious approach in support of potential actors’ strike.
Unlike writers’ unions around the world, which came out in support of the WGA’s labor action before it was called up, unions in English-speaking countries are conservative.
With more than 1,000 representatives now urging SAG-AFTRA leadership to take a tough line in negotiations with the Alliance for Motion Pictures and Television (AMPTP), talks at a knife-edge, questions have been raised about how other countries and local guidelines will respond. Actors will receive about work in projects of “hit” American companies.
The Canadian Actors’ Union ACTRA declined to comment after saying the strike “has not happened yet and is currently speculative,” while the Brussels-based Actors’ Union (FIA) had nothing to say with just two days before the first deadline expired. As we revealed late yesterday, this deadline may be extended to next week if SAG and AMPTP feel close to an agreement.
Most of the unions we have approached are keeping their powder dry until the situation becomes clearer but some international unions are taking a more outspoken stance. Mark Phillips, communications director for the Australian Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, said SAG-AFTRA has been keeping his organization informed.
He added: “As a sister union, MEAA stands in solidarity with SAG-AFTRA and will continue to work with SAG-AFTRA to determine the appropriate steps needed for any production in Australia affected by the industrial action if it occurred in the US.” .
‘We have to avoid confusion’
While the situation has subsided somewhat for nearly two months, the first few days of the writers’ strike saw international clerks urgently seek clarification as to whether they were allowed to work on certain projects. When it comes to the cast, sources tell Deadline that they want to avoid a repeat of the confusion that has prevailed in areas such as co-productions and shows commissioned outside the US broadcast.
John McVay, who runs the UK producers’ trade body Bact, said his body seeks “clarity and consistency” before advising its hundreds of independent members, many of whom produce script and many of whom work with US buyers.
He added, “What we want to avoid is the confusion that occurred with the WGA strike.” “We want to know who can do what, where they can do it, and avoid any gray areas.”
A senior British source familiar with the situation said the representatives union Equity, which, according to Variety, was in Los Angeles this week speaking with SAG officials, is “more aggressive” when it comes to US unions.
The source added: “The Equity will not look kindly on anything that bleeds into the ability of its members to obtain employment.” “They don’t want SAG to get a foothold in the UK but the problem is you have British representatives working in the US who will also be members of SAG.”
The source pointed out that “the possibility of replacing a British writer with an American one is completely different from bringing in a British actor for an American one,” and behind-the-scenes talks will be held about this disparity.
As with other actors’ unions around the world, Equity declined Deadline’s request for comment on the strike, as did the UK’s Directors Guild and Bectu’s union behind the camera.
Many big-budget American TV series and movies are currently being filmed outside the United States including the likes of Dragon House, Andor and HBO’s the palace. If the strike is eventually allowed, the eyes of the industry will be on these poles. Right now, labor unions around the world are sitting tight.
“Typical beer trailblazer. Hipster-friendly web buff. Certified alcohol fanatic. Internetaholic. Infuriatingly humble zombie lover.”