Members of SAG-AFTRA will begin voting Tuesday on the union’s tentative three-year contract with Hollywood studios that ended the 118-day actors strike.
The union’s national board of directors approved the agreement on an 86% to 14% vote Friday, and is encouraging members to vote “yes.” Voting by an estimated 160,000 members is expected to continue through the first week of December.
The tentative deal was announced Wednesday, and the union’s walkout officially ended at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
“We have forged the biggest deal in industry history, which broke pattern, established new revenue streams and passed a historic $1 billion plus deal with the most progressive AI protections ever written,” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said. “I feel pretty confident in saying this is a paradigm shift of seismic proportions.”
Chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said: “Once ratified, this deal will fundamentally reset how our membership is compensated to account for the growth of streaming and, for the first time, institute deep protections against the encroachment of AI technology. At its core, this deal is about our members and making sure they are able to maintain the dignity that comes with a career as an actor and performer.”
Key components of the agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, include:
- a 7% increase in general wages, effective immediately, with future increases in 2024 and 2025; a total package of more than $1 billion in new wages and funding for benefits;
- “consent and compensation guardrails” on the use of artificial intelligence that will require studios to obtain an actor’s informed consent before creating or using a digital replica of a performer, whether an A-list star or a background actor;
- establishment of a streaming participation bonus that will compensate performers in addition to traditional residuals;
- other provisions, including improved relocation benefits, regulations on self-taped auditions and increased residuals for stunt performers.
The contract is retroactive and runs through June 30, 2026.
“We are pleased that the (union’s) National Board has recommended the agreement for ratification by the membership,” an AMPTP spokesperson said. “We are also grateful that the entire industry has enthusiastically returned to work.”
Hollywood production had essentially been at a standstill since May 2, when the Writers Guild of America went on strike and SAG-AFTRA performers mostly honored their picket lines. The WGA ended its strike in late September, and members ratified their new deal in early October. SAG-AFTRA walked off the job July 14.
The shutdown is estimated to have cost the local economy billions of dollars, affecting not only actors and writers but all aspects of the production industry, as well as small businesses that rely on entertainment workers, such as restaurants and caterers.