LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists Board is recommending Thursday that its members vote to authorize a strike, as negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture Television Producers loom on the horizon.
Negotiations for a TV/theatrical contract between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP begin June 7. The vote to recommend a strike does not ensure a strike will in fact happen, but it allows the board to call one if deemed necessary.
Meanwhile, the Writers Guild of American is entering its third week on strike in a labor dispute with the AMPTP.
SAG-AFTRA represents more than 160,000 entertainment and media professionals.
"For the first time in a very long time, our member leadership stands in solidarity at the negotiating committee and the National Board levels on moving forward with a strike authorization. We must get all our ducks in a row should the need present itself," SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said in a statement. "The prospect of a strike is not a first option, but a last resort. As my dad always says, `Better to have and not need than to need and not have!' Therefore, I implore eligible members to follow the leads of both the negotiating committee and the National Board with an unprecedented show of solidarity and make three a charm with an emphatic yes for a strike- authorization vote."
SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said the strike authorization sends an important message.
"A yes vote gives the National Board the power to call a strike if the AMPTP does not negotiate fairly in our upcoming bargaining," Crabtree- Ireland said in a statement. "This will be a seminal negotiation that will determine the future of what it means to be a working performer. We must be ready to fight to secure a meaningful deal for our members."
Postcards will be sent to eligible members on Thursday with instructions on how to vote, and voting will close at 5 p.m. on June 5.
The current SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical Agreement expires at midnight on June 30.