What are stakes for Hollywood if strikes continue beyond Labor Day?

SAG-AFTRA actors and Writers Guild of America (WGA) writers walk the picket line in front of Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, California, U.S., July 17, 2023. Photo by REUTERS/Mike Blake.

With Hollywood actors and writers on strike, all scripted production has shut down and all press tours and publicity have been halted. All of this could equal $4 billion of damage to the entertainment industry, according to the Milken Institute. 

Big issues on the SAG-AFTRA/AMPTP negotiation table include increases to base wages, the use of artificial intelligence, streaming revenue, and new rules on meal breaks and rest periods. (SAG-AFTRA released an overview of their proposals, as well as the AMPTP’s responses to each. Studios say the union’s portrayal of negotiations are not accurate.) 

While there has been agreement on a few proposals, the studios and SAG are still at odds, says Katie Kilkenny, who covers labor for The Hollywood Reporter.

“It's important to remember … it's Hollywood's largest union. It has around 160,000 performers in it. So there were proposals about singers, dancers, stunt coordinators, stunt performers. And that's what this big contract is encompassing, in addition to those A-list Hollywood stars.”

One rejection from the AMPTP: giving the casts of streaming projects a small percentage of streaming revenue.

“Basically, actors would share in the success of their shows under the assumption that successful shows will lead to new subscribers, which leads to new revenue,” Kilkenny explains. “It's an interesting idea in terms of a new way that actors can receive revenue from streaming projects. In addition, they're looking for changes to streaming residuals, which is basically money that they get when a project is reused on a new medium.”

Kilkenny says it’s still unclear when the two sides will return to the table.

“These two parties just seem to be so far apart on so many core issues. … It seems that they'll need at least several [negotiating sessions] to really come to terms. … Everything I've been hearing from educated observers … [is] that it will be after Labor Day.”

If strikes continue, production could be delayed and affect the fall TV schedule, Kilkenny points out. In the meantime, publicity for new TV and movie releases have halted under strike rules. 

Many KCRW staff are members of SAG-AFTRA, though we are under a separate contract from the agreement at issue between actors and studios.



  • Katie Kilkenny - staff reporter covering labor and union issues, The Hollywood Reporter