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SAG-AFTRA’s Duncan Crabtree-Ireland Takes Aim At Amazon At TIFF; Talks About AMPTP Divide

“The cracks in the employers’ walls are getting deeper everyday.”

Such were the proclamations of SAG-AFTRA’s National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland during his second day at TIFF.

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Standing in solidarity with Canada’s ACTRA commercial actors union in front of Amazon’s Toronto offices –who’ve been in a 501-day contract lockout here in the Great White North with ad agencies– Crabtree-Ireland ridiculed the shopping site streamer which has been one of the stones for actors and writers reaching an agreement with the AMPTP.

Yesterday, during a sit-down chat with Indiewire’s Anne Thompson, Crabtree-Ireland acknowledged the distant business agendas of both legacy studios like Disney, Warner Bros, Paramount etc, and consumer driven tech streaming corps like Amazon and Apple in talks.

” These companies would replace their human workers with algorithms,” said Crabtree-Ireland today on the streets of Toronto.

“In the case of Amazon, a company that regularly avoids paying billions of dollars in U.S. federal taxes, and spends immense sums on stock buybacks instead of boosting wages for their workers,” said SAG-AFTRA’s Chief Negotiator.

“The assertion that Amazon can’t afford to compensate their employees fairly — that’s absolutely a myth, it’s ridiculous.”

“We cannot continue to allow these huge conglomerates to destroy our communities and the livelihoods of individuals.”

He called the upside down of corporate CEO’s swelling pay and lower worker pay “greed-flation” whereby expenses for housing, education, healthcare and groceries spike, but workers’ wages remain the same. Crabtree-Ireland quoted a stat that CEO pay has spiked 500% since 1978.

“Shame!” yelled ACTRA protestors in response to Crabtree-Ireland’s statements. He also told the crowd showing up that the strikes are going to deliver a $5 billion hit to the entertainment industry.

He also shared the current divide that the AMPTP is reportedly going through in their approach to talks.

“These companies made numerous attempts to divide and sow dissent among us, it turns out they have been the ones floundering, unable to settle on path forward. Everyday rumors abound hinting at the compaies internal disagreements and divergent agendas. These strikes are hitting where it counts to them.”

Today is day 58 of the SAG-AFTRA strike.

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