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Contract negotiations for TV and movies are stealing the spotlight in Hollywood


Hollywood's TV and film business is still working out its future in a summer defined by labor contracts and picket lines and a halt to most productions. This week, directors reached a deal with the studios, and actors authorized a strike. Hollywood writers are still on the picket lines. NPR's Mandalit del Barco catches us up.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: On Monday night, nearly 98% of voting SAG-AFTRA members authorized their leaders to call a strike against the studios as a negotiating tactic with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Hollywood actors, voiceover artists, stunt performers and others in the union are hoping for a new contract giving them more streaming residuals and protections from artificial intelligence. As their negotiations begin, many actors have been joining striking writers on picket lines in solidarity.


UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting) Corporate greed has got to go. Hey, hey.

DEL BARCO: Meanwhile, the Directors Guild of America struck a tentative deal that still needs approval by its members. It would give directors and managers a 12% wage increase over the next three years, a ban on live ammunition on sets and a promise that AI cannot replace their work. The actors and writers unions officially congratulated the DGA, but said they'll continue making their own demands. Here's Chris Keyser, the negotiating committee co-chair for the Writers Guild of America.

CHRIS KEYSER: DGA was likely to make a deal on this. You know, it's in their culture to make a deal. And we are very hopeful they made a really good deal for their membership. And we have to negotiate our own deal. And if we end up walking with other people walking alongside us, we will be strong enough to get what we need anyway.


DEL BARCO: Outside Amazon Studios yesterday afternoon, Clark Gregg walked the picket line. He's a writer, director and actor best known for "The Avengers" and "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." So he's in the WGA, the DGA and SAG-AFTRA.

CLARK GREGG: I just wish all three unions would just all strike together. And I know their concerns are different, but I just think that there's so many ways that the corporations are aligned and in sync and fixing their prices on what they're willing to pay. I just don't know why the unions don't do the same.

DEL BARCO: Gregg said the new streaming model has created less stable work for everyone in Hollywood.

GREGG: If we don't want to be essentially gig workers, it's now or never to fight this stuff. But I also - I'm trying to remain optimistic that there are human beings in these companies who get this.

DEL BARCO: Mandalit del Barco, NPR News, Hollywood. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.