Jennifer Lawrence Leads Actors Strike In Letter To Screen Actors Guild

Jennifer Lawrence and other high-profile celebs signed a letter to union leaders vowing to strike if all of their demands are not my by June 30.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

Hundreds of A-list actors who belong to the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), such as Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, and Mark Ruffalo, are ready to strike if a new agreement addressing their concerns isn’t reached by the time their existing contract with Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) expires on June 30.

Fran Drescher, President of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, updated members on the negotiation process earlier this week. But the message, which stated that the union was hoping to reach a “seminal deal,” wasn’t well received by SAG-AFTRA members who don’t want to settle if all their demands are not met.

According to Rolling Stone, more than 300 actors, including Jennifer Lawrence, signed a letter to union leaders stating that SAG-AFTRA members may be ready to take tougher action. “This is an unprecedented inflection point in our industry, and what might be considered a good deal in any other years is simply not enough,” the letter says.

 “We feel that our wages, our craft, our creative freedom, and the power of our union have all been undermined in the last decade. We need to reverse those trajectories,” the letter, signed by stars like Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Rami Malek, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ben Stiller, Neil Patrick Harris, Amy Schumer, and Amy Poehler, continued.

marvel meryl streep
Meryl Streep, one of the many actors willing to go on strike

The letter highlights several critical concerns the members want to be addressed during the negotiations. These include minimum pay, fair compensation for the growth of streaming platforms, healthcare benefits, pension plans, and regulations governing self-tape utilization in casting procedures.

Furthermore, the letter addresses members’ fears regarding the use of artificial intelligence while emphasizing the importance of safeguarding their likenesses and ensuring fair pay when their work is used for AI training. It also states that Jennifer Lawrence and other signatories are unwilling to settle for partial advancements, hoping that more favorable terms will come in future negotiations.

As the contract deadline approaches, the signatories also expressed their willingness to strike if necessary. “We want you to know that we would rather go on strike than compromise on these fundamental points, and we believe that, if we settle for a less than transformative deal, the future of our union and our craft will be undermined,” the letter signed by Jennifer Lawrence continues.

The letter concluded with actors asking their leaders to push for change and ensure the requested protections. “If you are not able to get all the way there, we ask that you use the power given to you by us, the membership, and join the WGA on the picket lines. For our union and its future, this is our moment. We hope that, on our behalf, you will meet that moment and not miss it.”

The WGA initiated a strike in May when negotiations with Hollywood studios failed to yield a satisfactory agreement. Members of the WGA, such as Jennifer Lawrence, have been outspoken about their apprehensions regarding working conditions throughout the industry, echoing concerns shared by SAG-AFTRA members.

The strike is already affecting the entertainment industry, with San Diego Comic-Con tapped to be missing many of its most prominent studios. The notable absences include Disney (and its subsidiaries Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm), HBO, Sony Pictures, Universal, and Netflix. Warner Bros. Discovery has yet to finalize its decision to participate.

The primary reason for the widespread drop-out is attributed to the current industry uncertainty caused by the ongoing WGA writer’s strike, which shows no signs of resolution, and the looming possibility that SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP may fail to reach an agreement by the end of June, leading to actors like Jennifer Lawrence going on strike during the SDCC.

Given the genuine risk that studios attending the event might not have enough panel representatives, it is not surprising to witness a lack of commitment on their part. However, the event will be deemed a bust if no one shows up.