SAG-AFTRA Members Vote to Ratify Strike-Ending Contract

SAG-AFTRA members have voted to ratify the deal that brought an end to the 118-day actors’ strike.

via THR:

In a contest that ended on Tuesday evening, 78.33 percent voted “yes” on the contract and 21.67 percent voted “no,” with a turnout of 38.15 percent. With members greenlighting the deal, the new agreement will now take effect retroactive to June 9, and will extend to June 30, 2026.

“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 Duncan Crabtree Ireland said in a joint statement to members on Tuesday night.

Added Drescher in her own statement, “SAG-AFTRA members have remained incredibly engaged throughout this process, and I know they’ll continue their advocacy throughout our next negotiation cycle. This is a golden age for SAG-AFTRA, and our union has never been more powerful.”

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represented top Hollywood studios and streamers in the negotiations, congratulated SAG-AFTRA in its own statement on Tuesday night. The new contract represents “historic gains and protections for performers,” the organization said. “With this vote, the industry and the jobs it supports will be able to return in full force.”

The new three-year contract, which the union has valued at over $1 billion, more than three times the value of the union’s 2020 deal, raises minimum wage rates by 7 percent in the first year of the deal, and 4 percent and 3.5 percent in the years following. The agreement establishes new guardrails on the use of artificial intelligence, detailing times when consent and compensation are required, creates a success-based streaming bonus and institutes new rules for virtual interviews and auditions as well as self-tapes. The union raised contribution “caps” to its pension and health plans and, for the first time, included performance capture work in its contract as covered union labor.

Expectations for the gains in the pact were high, given that it was the result of nearly four months of a strike that coincided with the Writers Guild of America’s 148-day work stoppage, a moment of unusual leverage for both unions. The joint work stoppage struck a $6 billion blow to the California economy, according to a November estimate from the Milken Institute, and left many industry members who work in production unemployed or under-employed for half a year. Tentpole films were moved  — like Dune: Part Two and Deadpool 3  — and popular series such as Netflix’s Stranger Things were delayed.

In the weeks leading up to the ratification vote results being released, debate raged among union members online over the AI protections included in the deal. Some felt that the union’s first attempt at regulating the burgeoning technology had not gone far enough, particularly by not barring the use of “synthetic performers” nor prohibiting companies from using performances to train AI tools or requiring scans and replications as a condition of employment. Others, meanwhile, believed that these initial guardrails will adequately protect members for the next two and a half years, until the union goes back into negotiations with studios on the same contract.

In his statement on Tuesday night, Crabtree-Ireland noted that “in any democratic institution, there will be disagreement at times. But no one should mistake the robust debate and democracy within SAG-AFTRA for any lack of unity in our purpose or mission: to protect and advance the cause of SAG-AFTRA members, now and forever.”

Voting for ratification took place both online and by mail-in ballot, with Integrity Voting Systems certifying the results.

Hopefully we don’t end up back here in three more years.

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