As the votes are still being tallied for SAG-AFTRA’s labor contract with Hollywood’s studios, a noticeable minority of members are voicing their opposition to the agreement.
Last week, Justine Bateman, a former lead negotiator for SAG-AFTRA, criticized the agreement as not including sufficient protections against Artificial Intelligence. In multiple interviews, Bateman called the concessions on AI that SAG-AFTRA negotiators gave to the studios tantamount to “negotiating with a cannibal about how your feet are going to be cut off.”
This week, Matthew Modine also announced his opposition to the agreement. While he suggested that each member cast their vote according to their conscience, he also slammed the AI protections as insufficient, saying that “consent is surrender” and the union had set members up to be “exploited.”
SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher responded on Instagram by encouraging members to support the “most lucrative, innovative, and protective contract in entertainment union history!”
While not mentioning Bateman and Modine by name, Drescher has taken swipes at the deal’s critics by calling them “naysayers” and “low-level” critics. The SAG-AFTRA leader also released the full text of the agreement this week, so that all members could read it in full form.
The period for votes to be tallied is scheduled to end on Sunday, December 5th, and most indications are that a majority of members will vote to ratify the agreement.
However, it is worth following the tenor of opposition during this time. On one hand, Modine’s opposition may be fueled by politics, since he has run against Drescher twice to be elected President of SAG-AFTRA, losing both contents in close and contentious races.
See also: SAG-AFTRA Releases Full Contract Terms as Ratification Vote Deadline Approaches (Variety)