Cast members of Hallmark's longest-running original series have been granted a waiver from SAG-AFTRA to begin filming Season 11. (Image: Hallmark Media)

The cast of Hallmark’s longest-running original series can go back to work. The actors have been granted a waiver from a current union strike that has brought most filming in the U.S. to a standstill.

Brian Bird, who co-created When Calls the Heart, shared the news on social media.

“Season 11 of When Calls the Heart is approved by SAG to continue production in the same week as Season 10 Premieres!” he wrote on Facebook. “We are very grateful to all the folks at SAG/AFTRA for saying YES! to filming Season 11!”

Waiver from SAG-AFTRA

All 160,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists have been on strike since July 14, after negotiations stalled with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. They joined members of the Writers Guild of America, who have been on strike since May after failing to reach an agreement with the AMPTP over working conditions and pay.

Among the complaints brought by union leaders are the shorter duration of television shooting schedules, which means longer periods of time actors go without steady pay, and smaller residuals — amounts paid to actors each time a movie or show is aired. According to representatives of SAG-AFTRA and the WGA, residuals have taken a hit with the advent of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

But the union has begun to grant waivers to some of its members to work on projects that have no direct ties to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

Erin Krakow, Kavan Smith, and Pascale Hutton goof around with Ben Rosenbaum's cell phone on the set of Season 10 of When Calls the Heart. (Image: Instagram/@ben_rosenbaum)

According to Deadline, When Calls the Heart is one of several projects to get such an exemption. Others include the Bible-based series The Chosen, the movies Mother Mary and I Dream of Unicorns, and Apple TV+’s Tehran.

Season 11

Work began on Season 11 of When Calls the Heart on July 17. The majority of the cast and crew are members of Canadian unions, which have not gone on strike. But questions arose as to how American cast members, including series lead Erin Krakow, would be able to film during the strike.

Brian Bird, who has been the show’s most vocal cheerleader, said the SAG-AFTRA waiver has brought those worries to an end.

“For ten seasons, our fictional town of Hope Valley has always been a place of second chances, where all citizens are treated with grace, fairness and respect,” he wrote on Facebook. “We pray for nothing but fairness and respect in the negotiations between the studios, networks, writers and actors. On all sides. Everybody can and should win.”

Season 10 of When Calls the Heart will premiere on Sunday, July 30 at 9/8c.

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