FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Georgia‘s stunt community is out of work. Thousands of stunt workers and members of SAG-AFTRA held a rally to show support for their union in negotiations.
SAG-AFTRA is negotiating a new contract with the studios. For stunt actors here in Georgia, they said the most important sticking points of the negotiations are residual payments, wage increases, and protections against artificial intelligence.
“We should share in the successes of our employer when their product goes and they make billions with a ‘B.’ Billions of dollars on the backs of the people who do the work,” said SAG-AFTRA Local President Eric Goins.
“The AMPTP is opposed to us sharing the rewards of a successful show because we don’t bear any of the risks. Tell that to my friend John who lost his life working on one of your tv shows. Tell that to any of us who have literally broken bones and bled for you,” said actress and stuntwoman Elena Sanchez.
Not only are the stunt artists not picking up a paycheck, but so are the businesses that rely on filming for work. These businesses include janitorial services, catering companies, restaurants, and hotels. The economic impact will get worse as negotiations drag on.
Professor Tom Smith with the Goizueta Business School at Emory University said it’s hard to predict how much of the $4 billion the state brings in each year will be lost.
“We haven’t had a strike like this in a while and Georgia wasn’t the sort of ‘Hollywood East’ that it is now,” said Smith.
The crowd expressed they wanted to get back to work, but they wanted to make sure a fair contract was signed first. Mike Pniewski, a member of the national negotiating committee for SAG-AFTRA, said he is hoping for a resolution soon.
“This is the contract I work to make a living. This is what my friends use to make a living. We have to fix it and we have to fix it now,” said Pniewski.
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