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As Actors Strike Ends, Here's What We Know About the New Contract
The negotiating committee jubilantly sheds ‘very tired tears’
Inside the SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee’s deliberation room, the mood was “jubilant” and there were “very tired tears,” one person close to the talks told me shortly after the actors union declared the strike over, ending an historic 118-day work stoppage. As noted over on The Ankler a little earlier, the strike officially ends at 12:01 a.m. tonight.
So what’s in this new three-year contract? Here’s what we know so far.
Calling it a deal of “extraordinary scope,” SAG-AFTRA puts the valuation of the deal at more than $1 billion, and says it includes “‘above-pattern’ minimum compensation increases, unprecedented provisions for consent and compensation that will protect members from the threat of AI, and for the first time establishes a streaming participation bonus.” Additionally, caps to members’ pension and health plans have been raised “substantially,” and there are “outsize compensation increases for background performers, and critical contract provisions protecting diverse communities,” according to a letter the union sent to members shortly after the deal was announced. (Read the full memo below.)
The guild is expected to release more details in the near future, but there is no doubt a great deal of curiosity around the exact language on AI protections for performers, particularly since it was one of the very last sticking points holding up the closure of the deal.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which reps the major studios and streamers, said the deal “represents a new paradigm.”
“It gives SAG-AFTRA the biggest contract-on-contract gains in the history of the union, including the largest increase in minimum wages in the last forty years; a brand new residual for streaming programs; extensive consent and compensation protections in the use of artificial intelligence; and sizable contract increases on items across the board,” according to a spokesperson for the organization. “The AMPTP is pleased to have reached a tentative agreement and looks forward to the industry resuming the work of telling great stories.”
The National Board will review the tentative agreement on Friday, and then it will have to be ratified by membership. But the unanimous 17-0 vote on the package indicates that the negotiating committee feels strongly about the deal. Particularly after the Writers Guild of America declared victory with its new contract, it seems imperative for SAG to bring to its 160,000 members a contract that will be ratified easily.
Here’s the full memo to membership from SAG-AFTRA:
We are thrilled and proud to tell you that today your TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee voted unanimously to approve a tentative agreement with the AMPTP. As of 12:01 a.m. PT on Nov. 9, our strike is officially suspended and all picket locations are closed. We will be in touch in the coming days with information about celebration gatherings around the country.
In a contract valued at over one billion dollars, we have achieved a deal of extraordinary scope that includes "above-pattern" minimum compensation increases, unprecedented provisions for consent and compensation that will protect members from the threat of AI, and for the first time establishes a streaming participation bonus. Our Pension & Health caps have been substantially raised, which will bring much needed value to our plans. In addition, the deal includes numerous improvements for multiple categories including outsize compensation increases for background performers, and critical contract provisions protecting diverse communities.
We have arrived at a contract that will enable SAG-AFTRA members from every category to build sustainable careers. Many thousands of performers now and into the future will benefit from this work.
Full details of the agreement will not be provided until the tentative agreement is reviewed by the SAG-AFTRA National Board.
We also thank our union siblings — the workers that power this industry — for the sacrifices they have made while supporting our strike and that of the Writers Guild of America. We stand together in solidarity and will be there for you when you need us.
Thank you all for your dedication, your commitment and your solidarity throughout this strike. It is because of YOU that these improvements became possible.
How’s everyone feeling? Talk to me: email@example.com.
Disclosure: Elaine Low is an inactive member of SAG-AFTRA.