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Fran Drescher knocks down George Clooney's plan to end strike

As the SAG-AFTRA strike drags into its fourth month, Clooney offered a solution to benefit lower-level actors.
Fran Drescher knocks down George Clooney's plan to end strike
Posted at 11:35 AM, Oct 20, 2023

As actors remain on strike, George Clooney led discussions with studios on ways to end the impasse between studios and SAG-AFTRA, the union representing actors. 

But according to SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher, the plan would not work legally. 

According to Deadline, Clooney proposed helping the studios defray costs by eliminating the cap on membership dues at $1 million. In return, the additional funds would go toward providing health insurance and other benefits for lower-paid actors. 

Deadline also reported that Clooney and others devised a formula that would make those at the bottom of call sheets be the first paid in residuals for streaming. 

"A lot of the top earners want to be part of the solution," Clooney told Deadline. "We’ve offered to remove the cap on dues, which would bring over $50 million to the union annually. Well over $150 million over the next three years. We think it’s fair for us to pay more into the union. We also are suggesting a bottom-up residual structure — meaning the top of the call sheet would be the last to collect residuals, not the first."

SEE MORE: SAG-AFTRA warns members not to break strike rules during Halloween

Drescher said the plan isn't feasible.

"And although that's extremely generous and we accept that graciously, that does not impact the contract that we're striking over whatsoever," she said. "We are a federally regulated labor union, and the only contributions that can go into our pension and health funds must be from the employer."

The strike began on July 14 and has continued for over three months. The major disagreements are over how studios pay actors for streaming residuals, the use of artificial intelligence and whether studios could use actors' likeness without compensating them. 

"We have cracked the code on something; we have identified what the flaw is in this streaming model with regards to compensation," Drescher said. "Now, it's true that the CEOs don't really want to address that, but sometimes in life, when you introduce an unprecedented business model like they did on all of my members with streaming, an unprecedented compensation structure must also go along with it."

While major movies are filmed well in advance, one major impact already felt by studios is that actors have been unable to promote films that are coming out. New scripted TV shows also haven't been filming, which is also due to a writers strike that began in May and just concluded last month.   

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