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After a rough At 118 days into the strike, SAG-AFTRA has officially reached a tentative agreement with the studios on a new three-year contract that heralds the end of the 2023 actors’ strike.
The SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical Committee approved the contract in a unanimous vote Wednesday, SAG-AFTRA announced. The strike ends at 12:01 am on Thursday. On Friday, the deal will go to the union’s national board for approval on Friday.
After nearly two weeks of renewed negotiations, the cast announced the tentative deal on Wednesday. Wednesday’s development came ahead of a 5pm deadline set by the Union of Motion Picture and Television Producers’ Union for their response on whether they have a deal.
The union has so far been tight-lipped about the details of the deal, which will come out in the days ahead of a union ratification vote. If the deal is approved, the deal could go into effect soon, but if not, members will essentially send their labor negotiators to the bargaining table with the AMPTP.
When negotiations resumed Oct. 2 for the first time since SAG-AFTRA announced its shutdown in July, industry hopes were high that Hollywood’s largest union could soon reach a deal with the majors. As in the final days of the writers’ negotiations, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslau, Disney CEO Bob Iger and NBCUniversal Studio Group President and Chief Content Officer Donna Langley attended the union talks. National headquarters in Los Angeles. But the studio walked out on October 11 at the suggestion of SAG-AFTRA. The union’s chief negotiator called it “mystifying” that major platforms charge a fee for each streaming subscriber. )
The two sides met again on October 24 after a gap of almost two weeks. This time, the studios have come up with a more generous opportunity to increase actors’ pay bases and a slightly modified version of the success-based streaming bonuses they previously offered the WGA. The two sides exchanged proposals for much of a week, leaving the industry on edge. Even when a deal was in sight, progress was slow, especially when the deal’s initial defense was placed on AI: the union sees the rapidly advancing technology as a purely existential issue for members and seeks to close potential loopholes that could lead to the future. problems. On Saturday the studios union offered what it characterized as the companies’ “last, best and final” (still, the two sides exchanged offers).
When the union’s previous contract expired in mid-July and SAG-AFTRA went on strike, several outstanding issues were left on the table. Setting terms for the use of AI was a major sticking point between union and studio negotiators, and there was a proposal to give actors additional streaming compensation. Union negotiators sought to establish unusually large minimum rate increases in the first year of the deal, ground rules for self-taped virtual auditions and large increases in “caps” for health and pension contributions unchanged since the 1980s. Meanwhile, as the entertainment business continues to experience a period of contraction, large companies have sought to preserve some degree of flexibility and cost control.
SAG-AFTRA’s strike came amid an ongoing writers’ strike in July, giving the union an unusual amount of leverage early in its negotiations with the AMPTP. Almost immediately, most unionized US productions that had been running without writers closed Deadpool 3 And Poison 3. While the strike lasted several months, a strategist at the Milken Institute estimated that the strikes cost the California economy alone at least $6 billion.
But as the strike approached its 100-day mark, pressure began to build. A-lister actors began speaking out to both their unions and studios in an effort to improve progress in negotiations. Several actors began writing a letter expressing concerns about the union’s leadership, but held back from publishing it, fearing it might negatively influence negotiations. Then, on October 26, a separate letter signed by thousands of actors was published, advising negotiators that “we are not coming to the cave now.”
The time the union has spent on strike in 2023 will certainly raise expectations for the deal they reach with the studios. In the union’s upcoming ratification vote, the date of which has yet to be announced, members will decide whether the deal is acceptable to them.