SAG-AFTRA Leaders Explore Promises and Threats of New Technologies

Labor News, Industry News

Reprinted from Deadline Hollywood by David Robb on February 19, 2021.

The promises and threats that new technologies pose for workers in the entertainment industry were explored Friday at the third annual Labor Innovation & Technology Summit, hosted by SAG-AFTRA and the AFL-CIO. …

“Within the entertainment industry, the technology-versus-humanity tension is right in your face,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said in her opening remarks. “I don’t know where I would be without Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services. Yet, the sudden and extreme pivot to streaming during the pandemic poses an existential threat to a performer’s ability to make a living.”

The large media corporations, she said, “are exploiting technology to either change, or blatantly ignore, the fundamental pillars that have been built over decades of collective bargaining to ensure that workers shared in the financial bounty that they create.”

The role of unions, Carteris said, “is not to fight technology but to be part of the conversation at the onset so that we can help lead and shape the future of our work. As technology evolves, we have to make sure that humans are treated fairly, and that they can make a decent living and can do their jobs with both dignity and respect.” …

Deadline Hollywood 2/19

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Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at