AI concerns remain unaddressed in SAG-AFTRA labor talks

November 7, 2023


In the midst of ongoing labor discussions, Hollywood’s Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has expressed dissatisfaction with the latest proposal from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), citing AI policies as a sticking point.

SAG-AFTRA actors are still hesitant to endorse the “final” labor agreement offer proposed by Hollywood studios. The union highlighted that there were “several essential items” that did not align with their expectations, particularly regarding the use of AI in the industry.

After convening on Sunday and Monday to assess the studios’ latest offer, SAG-AFTRA remains uncertain if AMPTP will re-enter negotiations or cease discussions entirely. 

The actors’ union has been striking since July 14, causing significant delays in film and television production. Their demands include not only better wages, working conditions, and benefits but also clear regulations concerning AI’s role in productions and greater transparency from streaming platforms to ensure fair residual payments.

The strike, now spanning 116 days, has halted numerous projects across the Hollywood film industry and beyond.

In a move to resolve the strike, Hollywood studios have termed their newest proposal as their “last, best and final” offer, which includes a notable increase in residual bonuses for hit streaming shows and heightened protections against AI threats.

However, these propositions have yet to satisfy SAG-AFTRA’s demands for a share of streaming revenues and stringent protection against the replication of actors’ images and voices through AI technology.

Recent high-level Zoom meetings involving industry leaders, including Bob Iger of Disney and Ted Sarandos of Netflix, have tried to bridge the gap. Sarandos reportedly stated, “We didn’t just come toward you, we came all the way to you.”

SAG-AFTRA, anticipating a response to the studios’ offer, has informed its members to stay wary of rumors, emphasizing that any official updates will come directly from the union.

As this labor dispute unfolds, with both increased pay and the emerging challenges of AI technology at the forefront, the industry watches to see if further negotiations will yield a resolution or if the stalemate will continue to disrupt Hollywood’s production landscape.

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Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.


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