SAG-AFTRA members vote to ratify 3-year contract with studios

Voting took place over the last four weeks.

December 5, 2023, 10:51 PM

SAG-AFTRA members voted to ratify the deal that successfully ended the historic 118-day strike, the union announced on Tuesday.

The contract was approved with 78% voting in favor of the deal. SAG-AFTRA didn't reveal the exact number of members who voted but said it was 38.15% of the union.

The union, which represents approximately 160,000 Hollywood performers, cleared members to return to work on Nov. 9 after SAG-AFTRA board members approved the then-tentative deal.

The three-year agreement is effective retroactively to Nov. 9, and expires June 30, 2026, the union said in a press release.

. Hollywood on December 5, 2023 anxiously waited to learn if actors have approved their union's hard-fought deal with studios, or if an entertainment industry still reeling from months-long strikes could be plunged back into turmoil. While the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) deal is widely expected to pass, criticism -- mainly over its perceived lack of protection against artificial intelligence -- has swelled in recent weeks, raising jitters about a potential, if unlikely, return to picket lines. (Photo by Chris Delmas / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

The union released the entire 128-page contract after Thanksgiving, valuing the deal at "more than $1 billion in new compensation and benefit plan funding."

The deal provides a 7% increase in minimum rates in the first year and the first-ever protections against the use of artificial intelligence to replicate performances, requiring compensation and consent guardrails to protect performers from generative AI technology.

As part of the new deal, streaming services will pay bonuses to shows that reach a certain level of success, bonuses that the union estimates will be about $40 million per year.

"This contract is an enormous victory for working performers, and it marks the dawning of a new era for the industry. Getting to this point was truly a collective effort," union president Fran Drescher and national executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said in a joint statement Tuesday night.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the studios, congratulated the union shortly after the announcement.

"The AMPTP member companies congratulate SAG-AFTRA on the ratification of its new contract, which represents historic gains and protections for performers. With this vote, the industry and the jobs it supports will be able to return in full force."

Actors began striking on July 14, joining the picket line alongside writers who went on strike on May 2, effectively leaving most of Hollywood at a standstill all summer.

The writers' union, the Writers Guild of America, successfully ended its 148-day strike on Sept. 27, after reaching a tentative deal with the studios. That agreement was ratified by WGA membership on Oct. 9.

Final negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or AMPTP, the group negotiating on behalf of the studios, began on Oct. 2 and continued throughout the month and into early November. Disney, one of the studios represented by AMPTP, is the parent company of ABC News.

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