SAG-AFTRA Strike Will Not Include News And Broadcast Members

SAG-AFTRA Strike Will Not Include News And Broadcast Members

July 14, 2023

The SAG-AFTRA strike will affect tens of thousands in the industry, but one part of the union’s membership will not be part of the walkout: news and broadcast members.

There has been a bit of confusion over just who will be impacted, but news industry agents have been sending out SAG-AFTRA fact sheets on the impact to journalist clients, who may be questioning what happens to them when the strike begins on Friday.

The short answer: SAG-AFTRA news and broadcast members will not be on strike, as member reporters, anchors. hosts and producers work under individual station or network contracts, not the TV and theatrical agreement. For those broadcast and news members, the terms and conditions of their employment remain the same and are not affected, according to SAG-AFTRA. “Scripted dramatic live action entertainment production that is covered by the SAG/AFTRA TV/Theatrical Contracts would be considered struck work and you should not participate,” the union said.

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Members also are not required to walk a picket line, albeit the union said it would be a way of showing solidarity. Members have been instructed to also contact SAG-AFTRA staff before joining a picket if they have concerns about journalism conflicts or employer policies, given that journalist members also may be covering the strike.

Ultimately, 65,000 of the union’s members, or 47.69% of eligible voters, participated in the strike vote, with almost 98% voting yes.

Given that picket lines will be set up in places where news members work, SAG-AFTRA plans to offer placards for members to place on their car windshields to show that they work under separate agreements. Those members also may have the option of entering or exiting a workplace via a “neutral” gate.

SAG merged with AFTRA, with its heavy membership of broadcast hosts and news reporters and anchors, in 2012, although both unions jointly negotiated contracts before that in areas where they had similar jurisdiction.

Although broadcasters and news personalities may not be part of this strike, they have walked out before. Back in 1967, AFTRA did go on strike for 13 days, in what involved all of AFTRA’s 18,000 members back then. The strike was immediately apparent to viewers of the evening news. Unknown Arnold Zenker, a CBS manager of news programming, was enlisted to fill in for anchor Walter Cronkite when he refused to cross picket lines.

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