Major studios and the actors union SAG-AFTRA came to terms on a tentative deal Wednesday that could end the actors’ strike, which began back in July and has paralyzed the motion picture industry. The deal next goes in front of the union’s national board Friday for “review and consideration.”
“In a unanimous vote this afternoon, the SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical Committee approved a tentative agreement with the AMPTP bringing an end to the 118-day strike,” the actors guild said in a statement, adding that the strike officially ends at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
THE #SagAftraStrike IS OVER.
🧵 Thread below. pic.twitter.com/KDTl9uKBRt
— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) November 9, 2023
Even though the deal is tentative, the strike is effectively over for now after intense negotiations:
SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating committee spent 12 hours on Sunday crafting its response. As of Monday, the union said that there remained differences on “several key items.” The AMPTP modified its AI language in a meeting on Monday night, leading to a 10-hour SAG-AFTRA committee meeting on Tuesday.
The committee met again for six hours on Wednesday to conclude its deliberations and take the vote.
Union members will still have to vote to ratify an agreement, a process that is likely to take at least a week or more. But the strike has already been called off, meaning that actors can return to work on Thursday. [Emphasis mine.]
The actors, who had been manning the picket lines for 118 days, agreed to the following terms:
The two sides spent the last several days putting the finishing touches on the deal, which will see the first-ever protections for actors against artificial intelligence and a historic pay increase. The deal will see most minimums increase by 7% — two percent above the increases received by the Writers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America.
If the deal is ratified, the two sides will have finally come to an agreement on streaming, where actors have long thought they’ve been underpaid.
The deal also includes a “streaming participation bonus,” according to an email sent to SAG-AFTRA members, as well as increases in pension and health contributions. The union said the contract is worth more than $1 billion in total.
Ben Whitehair, a member of the union negotiating committee, said the deal is a “massive win” for the union and that it was “incredibly emotional.” Regarding streaming, he added that the union achieved a “structural change” in compensation, though full details will not be released until Friday.
“When performers understand what was gained, they’re going to be thrilled,” Whitehair said.
Some social media users were ecstatic that their favorite shows will soon be filming again.
THE STRIKE IS OVER ENTERTAINMENT IS BACK! pic.twitter.com/jK4pXvdkqO
— jaylinran (@wndanct) November 9, 2023
Unfortunately, the agreement also means the return of the unfunny, woke late-night talk shows whose hosts constantly bash half the American audience.
The Writers Guild reached their own deal in September with studios on a new three-year contract. It was the first time both unions had been on strike at the same time since 1960. Both unions were fighting for similar things, like protections against the use of AI and a bigger cut of streaming profits. Star writers and actors often negotiate profitable deals for themselves whether the show is on a network or a streaming platform, but for the less well-known, a network gig is generally much more lucrative than one for a streamer like Netflix or Disney+. We’ll see how that changes.
For now, though—unless something goes wrong—it looks like it’s lights, camera, action.