SAG-AFTRA’s Duncan Crabtree-Ireland Talks Strike Going Into 2024: “Our Members Are Standing Strong”

SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland says the Hollywood actors strike might well go into 2024 but insisted the major studios and streamers could push forward a resolution.

“We hope it doesn’t go into next year, but our members are standing strong. The union is secure and stable. We have emergency assistance funds available for our members and crew members in the industry,” Crabtree-Ireland, national executive director of the American actors union, told The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday.

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His comments came as SAG-AFTRA and ACTRA, the Canadian actors union, held a joint rally outside the Toronto headquarters of Amazon and Apple to rally support for labor action by performers on both sides of the border. Patricia Arquette, who is screening her directorial debut, Gonzo Girl, at TIFF was also at the rally.

Crabtree-Ireland insisted the prospect of an early resolution to the actors strike lay with the major studios and streamers represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, who have yet to return to the negotiating table since bargaining talks broke down on July 12.

The American actors union went on strike two days later, and no official negotiations between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA or the Writers Guild of America have been scheduled.

“It’s all in their control. They could come back tomorrow and make a deal,” Crabtree-Ireland added after voicing support from the American actors union for ACTRA as its performer members have been locked out for 501 days from working on commercials by the Institute of Canadian Agencies and major domestic advertisers.

“We’ll stay on strike as long as it takes to achieve a fair deal. We hope it’s not that long. There’s no reason these strikes should go past the end of this month. But the company’s intransigence is determining that,” Crabtree-Ireland argued. He added it was possible that one of the major studios could split off and negotiate a separate deal with SAG-AFTRA, but he wasn’t holding his breath.

“If one of the companies approach us and say they want to make a separate deal, we’ll talk to them. My belief is that’s unlikely to happen. You never can tell. In our view, the best outcome is getting a quick and single deal for the whole industry. But we’ll do whatever it takes to bring this strike to an end with a fair deal,” Crabtree-Ireland told THR.

He added the actors union already had a separate deal with Netflix, which was a member of the AMPTP. “[Netflix] bargained hard to get into the AMPTP. So far, I see no one, including them, being willing to step aside from that. But if that happens, we’ll be there,” the union head argued.

The message that the major studios and streamers would not succeed by attempting to wait out the U.S. actors union was echoed by around 75 ACTRA members who demonstrated alongside Crabtree-Ireland in support of performers in TV commercials who have been locked out.

“We’re in a lockout,” said national president of ACTRA’s National Council, Eleanor Noble, at the Toronto rally, “and you’re in a strike, because of corporate greed.”

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