I’m so proud of Fran Drescher and SAG-AFTRA. The actors really held strong for 118 days. The actors’ strike began in July, joining their sister union, the WGA, in a comprehensive strike across the board. The writers’ strike ended in September with what sounded like a very, very good agreement for writers. Meanwhile, the actors held the line – they wanted profit-sharing with streamers, they wanted a new model for residuals, they wanted to severely limit the use of AI, they wanted significant pay increases across the board for working actors. The AMPTP kept f–king around and finding out too, thinking they could break or starve the actors. They could not. And now, finally, a deal.
After a grueling 118 days on strike, SAG-AFTRA has officially reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract with studios, a move that is heralding the end of the 2023 actors strike.
The SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical Committee approved the agreement in a unanimous vote on Wednesday, SAG-AFTRA announced. The strike will end at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. On Friday, the deal will go to the union’s national board for approval.
The performers union announced the provisional agreement Wednesday, after about two weeks of renewed negotiations. The development came not long before a deadline of 5 p.m. that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers had set for the union to give their answer on whether they had a deal.
The union is so far providing some details of the agreement, more of which will likely emerge in the next few days prior to the union’s ratification vote. In a message to members on Wednesday night, the union said the pact is valued at over $1 billion and includes pay increases higher than what other unions received this year, a “streaming participation bonus” and regulations on AI. The tentative deal also includes higher caps on health and pension funds, compensation bumps for background performers and “critical contract provisions protecting diverse communities.” If the deal is ratified, the contract could soon go into effect, and if not, members would essentially send their labor negotiators back to the bargaining table with the AMPTP.
You can read more at THR about the fits and starts of the negotiations, where even big-name studio executives came into the room to try to bully the SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee. Seriously, I’m so proud of the actors – this was an amazing example of a union holding the line, with 99.9% of their members in lockstep. This strike will be studied in labor law classes and it will be studied by unions around the world. Also: SAG-AFTRA’s waiver program worked SO WELL. There was some confusion at first, but as soon as actors were told that they could and should promote waivered work, they did and it worked out really well. It was a visual reminder at film festivals and premieres that some smaller production companies could support their unions, so why couldn’t studios?
Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Cover Images.
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