SAG-AFTRA members approve labor deal with Hollywood studios

The union representing thousands of film and television actors officially ratified its new three-year contract with Hollywood studios Tuesday night in the wake of a nearly four-month strike that brought the industry to its knees. However, less than 40% of members participated in the vote, SAG-AFTRA disclosed. 

Beginning in July, the massive entertainment union went on strike for 118 days after its previous agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers expired. A tentative deal was reached last month. 

Of the 38.15% of members that participated in the vote, 78.33% voted in favor of ratifying the contract, while 21.67% voted against it, SAG-AFTRA said. 

“By ratifying this contract, members have made it clear that they’re eager to use their unity to lay the groundwork for a better industry, improving the lives of those working in their profession,” Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said in a statement.

The AMPTP congratulated the approval shortly after the vote.

“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,” the union stated.

SAG-AFTRA said the new deal includes more than $1 billion in new compensation and benefit plan funding as well as an overhaul of the residuals formulas, especially for streaming performers — major sticking points that led to the strike. The new model grants a bonus in addition to the existing residual structures as well as more pay for principal and background actors.

Notably, the contract includes a new tenet surrounding artificial intelligence. The deal established informed consent and compensation guidelines for studios using the controversial new technology. 

“I’m proud of our SAG-AFTRA membership,” President Fran Drescher said. “They struck for 118 days to grant the TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee the necessary leverage to secure over $1 billion in gains, along with the union’s first-ever protections around AI technology. Now they’ve locked in the gains by ratifying the contract.”

Hollywood writers, following their own four-and-a-half-month strike, reached a new three-year deal with the AMPTP in September. It marked the first time the two unions, the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild, have been on strike simultaneously since 1960.   

Paramount Global, which owns CBS News, is part of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Additionally, many CBS News anchors and reporters are SAG-AFTRA members. However, they operate under a different contract and were not part of the pending negotiations.

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