While the WGA writers Strike came to an end in September, SAG-AFTRA is still involved in their labor dispute with Hollywood's major studios. During this time, talks between both sides have been on and off (with guild leader Fran Drescher issuing a blunt response on that front). Still, industry bigwigs like Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos have discussed the impact of the strike and expressed optimism about ending it soon. And according to a recent statement by SAG, the studios have made their "final" contract offer. As of this writing, it remains to be seen whether the guild will accept the terms but, in the meantime, guild member Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has donated over $1 million amid the strike, spoke about decision.
Union members are on the edge of their seats following a statement from SAG-AFTRA’s official X (formally Twitter) account. Via the update, it was revealed that the negotiators revealed they were mulling over what was called the “last, best, and final offer” from the AMPTP. The statement read:
We received an offer today from the AMPTP which they characterized as their “Last, Best, and Final Offer.” We are reviewing it and considering our response within the context of the critical issues addressed in our proposals. As always, unless it comes from your union, please do not believe any outside sources or rumors.
Union members are apparently determined to negotiate for a contract that sustains the acting industry and are prepared to turn the offer down if necessary. Yet there is still a desire to end the strike as soon as possible, especially with the large number of people suffering due to the Hollywood work stoppage. Celebrities have tried to lend a hand to support fellow union members financially, and Arnold Schwarzenegger explained why he felt such a duty to donate a hefty sum to SAG. He told Town and Country:
Something that you and I have talked about is that we both feel so privileged to live in the United States and that, without this country, we wouldn’t be where we are today. As soon as you recognize that you are not self-made, you realize that you have to give something back. And when you recognize how good it feels to actually do something for someone else, it gets in your blood.
Despite often being labeled a “self-made man,” the Terminator star has rejected the title as to not negate the help and assistance he's received from others along the way. He has made improving the community a real-life goal, even serving as the Governor of California to make change on a state level. He continued to say that he believes that with the privilege he has been given as an actor in America, it is important that he uses it to help others without the same security:
I have made millions of dollars in America. So when you talk about giving a million dollars to SAG for the poor people that are now suffering because of the strike, I didn’t think twice. I earned the money that I have because of America, so I’m more than happy to give some of it away for very important causes.
76-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t the only one who has had this philosophy throughout the work stoppage, as many of the highest earning SAG actors have made major donations during the strike. A-listers like Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman have also donated over $1 million to SAG for strike relief. In addition, George Clooney, with support from stars like Ben Affleck and Emma Stone, proposed a $150 million dollar plan to increase union dues amongst the guild's highest earners as an incentive to end the strike. These acts of goodwill have yet to move the needle when it comes to negotiations, but it is a sign that there is solidarity amongst actors.
Only time will tell when a deal is made between the studios and SAG-AFTRA. Clearly, there are many people impacted by the strike, as production delays are affecting almost everyone in the entertainment industry financially. However, if SAG does continue to hold the line for the betterment of union pay and the future for actors, it's still nice to see that those least affected by the strike are doing their part in the midst of what is a major financial hit for many. Arnold Schwarzenegger calling his donations a “no-brainer" is a true testament to his character and desire to give back.
You can hear "the Governator" talk about his commitment to helping others as well as his other life philosophies in the documentary Arnold, which is currently streaming for those with a Netflix subscription.