SAG-AFTRA continues fight against AI ahead of 2026 contract

Ahead of their upcoming 2026 contract negotiations, actors guild SAG-AFTRA said AI is once again on the table.

Last Updated on June 5, 2024


Artificial intelligence is here to stay, and if SAG-AFTA thought they could silence AI once the strike settled, they’ve got another thing coming. One of the major talking points of last year’s SAG-AFTRA strike — which lasted from July to November — was the threat of AI within the industry. And while it has been just under six months since the strike ended, the topic is once again at the forefront.

The next focus for SAG-AFTRA is negotiations for the 2026 contract, which is already on the table as far as discussion goes. At a recent event, Lisa Powell — executive vice president of SAG-AFTRA — confirmed that one of the key matters at hand will indeed be AI, which they claimed a small but vital win over during the contract settlement last fall. “We’re watching A.I., we’ve got a lot of legislation going on to try and cover some of the loopholes in A.I. but I think we’re also going to watch how that technology develops and be ready to make any changes or tweaks or additions that need to be made. There’s some that we left on the table that that we’re going to go back and try again.”

As for whether or not SAG-AFTRA has a stronghold on AI, Powell remains confident, saying, “The exciting thing is that I feel like we’re in a more powerful position because of having a struck that [the studios] take us very seriously now, as they should. There’s a sense among membership that we can push the envelope a little more, and it’ll bend.”

Studies have been done over just what sort of impact AI will have in Hollywood. Even as soon as two weeks after SAG-AGTRA ended their strike, AI was the focus of one study that estimated that the instead could see upwards of 200,000 jobs lost to the technology. Adding to this, a more recent poll pointed to nearly half of those within the film and television industries feel that artificial intelligence is ultimately harmful to their professions. Not surprisingly, the vast majority do feel that proper regulations need to be put in order.

Undoubtedly this should play into any of SAG-AFTRA’s future negotiations over AI. That they are keeping a close eye on the developing technology and adapting as artificial intelligence does is also quite wise, as even the slightest advancements could make their actions and progress moot if they put ink to paper too quickly.

Do you think SAG-AFTRA can ever truly settle on their position on AI? Or will any negotiations always feel out of date so long as the tech is advancing?

Source: Deadline

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Mathew is an East Coast-based writer and film aficionado who has been working with periodically since 2006. When he’s not writing, you can find him on Letterboxd or at a local brewery. If he had the time, he would host the most exhaustive The Wonder Years rewatch podcast in the universe.