Statement from AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler on the announcement that SAG-AFTRA members are on strike:
It is outrageous that Hollywood executives have chosen greed over the actors and performing artists who help to drive the entertainment industry. We stand in active solidarity with the 160,000 members of SAG-AFTRA as they begin striking today for fair wages, stronger working conditions, a voice on the job and a more secure future for their craft.
Despite what industry executives like Disney CEO Bob Iger—who makes $31 million annually—have recently said, the demands of actors, performing artists and writers are not “unrealistic.” What is unrealistic is that these executives pay themselves exorbitant salaries while the working people who bring poignant stories to life struggle to make ends meet, pay rent or provide for their families. Artificial intelligence and other new technologies should not be used to displace or replace real people and workers. We must have a say in how our likeness and work are used, and we must share in the wealth we help to create. These are the reasonable demands of a 21st century contract.
Make no mistake, we have reached this moment due to the deliberate choices made by executives of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) who put their interests before those of the workers who make this entertainment industry thrive.
The power of America’s labor movement is not to be underestimated, and we are determined to win this fight for all working people. Acting and writing jobs should be good, life-sustaining careers; we will continue to stand strong until every member of SAG-AFTRA, the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), and Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) wins a fair contract with the dignity and respect they deserve.