More than 98% of SAG-AFTRA’s membership voted in favor of a TV animation strike authorization on July 18.
In a letter posted on the union’s website after Wednesday’s vote, SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris noted that the referendum does not mean members are on strike. The vote simply gives the union’s national board the authority to declare a strike if absolutely necessary.
Carteris also suggested the #ToonsUnited hashtag for members to share their support for the vote across social media as SAG-AFTRA ramps up its negotiations with trade association The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
The main sticking point for SAG-AFTRA is the refusal of employers to offer fair wages and residuals to animation performers for their voice work on animated programs made for subscription-based streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon. In a previous message from June 27, Carteris stated that performers on streaming toons have been working under TV animation contracts that expired on June 30, 2017 and that animated programs for SVODs is the “fastest-growing area” for SAG-AFTRA performers’ work.
The spat comes amid huge growth for kids and family animation made for SVODs, in particular Netflix which now boasts more than 125 million global subscribers and recently inked significant kids and family content deals with long-standing partners DreamWorks and filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro (Trollhunters).
Major players Apple and Disney will also be throwing their hats into the kids SVOD ring in 2019 with Apple announcing Sesame Workshop as its first partner and Disney stacking its SVOD executive ranks with the hiring of film marketing president Ricky Strauss to president of content and marketing for Disney’s forthcoming direct-to-consumer platform.