SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher​ says union is being stonewalled amid strike: “They don’t want to talk”


SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher, who is leading the actors’ union in its ongoing strike for better pay and stronger protections, said the “other side” of the dispute has stonewalled them and isn’t talking.

“I wish we would be talking to the other side,” Drescher, who is known for her starring role in “The Nanny,” told “CBS Mornings” on Wednesday. “We said we would start talking to them immediately. But they’re punishing us. They don’t want to talk to us.”

The “other side” is the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), a trade association that represents companies including Paramount Studies, which has the same parent company as CBS News. 

“I think stonewalling is their preferred technique,” Drescher said, adding that there has been no communication— including meetings or phone calls — between the disputing parties. 

Before Drescher spoke to CBS News, the alliance said the SAG-AFTRA union has mischaracterized negotiations and made the actors an offer. Drescher didn’t go into details of that offer when asked about the specifics, instead saying that going on strike is a “major deal.” 

“Why would we go on strike if we were offered such an incredible deal? It doesn’t make sense,” Drescher said. “We’re not making $78,000 a day, like the CEOs of these companies. So it’s insulting for them to imply that we’re being kind of spoiled brats, when … working people .. just want to pay the rent and put food on the table.”

“They want to squeeze blood from a rock because all they’re interested in is showing their shareholders how much money they’re making and not losing,” she said, adding that many union members are struggling to even meet minimum requirements for health insurance.  

CBS News has reached out to Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for comment.

The SAG-AFTRA strike, which started last week, comes months after screenwriters hit the picket lines. The strike stems from issues including financial compensation resulting from two different business models — one surrounding traditional broadcast networks and the other related to streaming. 

Drescher said that in the past, during the days of the ’90s sitcom “The Nanny,” a show’s success relied on its longevity and ability to gather viewers and ad revenue, leading to multiple seasons with numerous episodes. This model involved syndication, cable broadcasts and global sales, generating revenue even after it ended.  

“It was a very good business model. When the advent of streaming was introduced, the business model changed radically,” she said.

According to Drescher, there was a sudden shift in the industry where shows were labeled as limited series, made up of a handful of episodes per season. If successful, a series might run for three to four years under this new format. 

Actors also take issue with the lack of transparency from streaming platforms, which typically don’t share data around consumption on their platforms.

“We don’t know what the numbers are,” said Drescher. “Those people that run the streaming channels are very secretive, they won’t tell us so they’ll give us some money that they say is what’s coming to us. But we can’t make enough when we’re only doing six to 10 episodes and it’s in a vacuum there’s no tail beyond the money we have to follow. That’s in subscriptions.”

Some CBS News staff are SAG-AFTRA members. But they work under a different contract than the actors and are not affected by the strike.


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