Hollywood let out a collective sigh of relief on Wednesday as SAG-AFTRA and the studios and streamers reached a tentative deal, ending the 118-day strike.
The work stoppage will be suspended at just past midnight Pacific Time on Thursday (12.01am PT), allowing actors to resume work.
Deal terms were not disclosed and are expected to emerge after the union’s national board examines the deal on Friday
SAG-AFTRA hailed “a deal of extraordinary scope” which it said was valued at more than $1bn and included terms on the key sticking points throughout the negotiating process: “above-pattern” minimum compensation rises, consent and compensation protections around AI, and an unprecedented streaming participation bonus.
“We have arrived at a contract that will enable SAG-AFTRA members from every category to build sustainable careers,” the union’s negotiating committee said in a statement on Wednesday evening. The union’s negotiating committee said that “many thousands of performers will benefit now and in the future from this work.”010010 Scroll to bottom to see both statements in full.
SAG-AFTRA needs to jump through a couple of hoops before the new three-year TV and theatrical deal is signed and sealed.
After the union’s national board reviews the deal for approval on Friday it will then pass to the 160,000-strong membership who will vote on whether or not to ratify – a process that could take around a week.
The tentative agreement comes after a stop-start negotiation which restarted in early October after SAG-AFTRA went on strike on July 14.
When talks broke down on October 11 there were fears a deal might be a long way off as the parties remained at loggerheads on minimum compensation, AI protections, and residuals. AMPTP said the gap between the sides was too great, while the union cried “bully tactics”.
Sarandos drew the ire of SAG-AFTRA the following day when he told a conference the union had proposed what he called a levy on each studio and streamer’s global subscribers, adding the proposal was “a bridge too far to add this deep into the negotiation”.
AMPTP said the measure would costs its members $800m a year. SAG-AFTRA countered the estimate as grossly overinflated, and their proposal would amount to less that 57 cents per Head negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland rubbished Sarandos’s description, telling
Screen: “Compensating workers for their work is not a tax.”In late October a cabal of A-listers led by George Clooney proposed a removal of the ceiling on union dues to bring what it claimed would amount to $150m over three years into the coffers, as well as a bottom-up residual plan. The measure was politely put to one side by the union amid questions over its legality.
By the second half of October talks had resumed, with the so-called Gang Of Four – studio heads Donna Langley (NBCUniversal), Bob Iger (Disney), David Zaslav (Warner Bros Discovery), and Ted Sarandos (Netflix) – in attendance for multiple consecutive days.
Heading into Halloween the union was ridiculed when it urged members wearing costumes during the festivities to choose generic characters and not those from films or TV shows by struck companies.
Last week negotiations appeared to be nearing the finish line, AMPTP issued its “last, best and final offer” over the weekend and this week a breakthrough in bargaining over AI protections signalled that resolution was close.
On Wednesday evening Writers Guild of America West and East, who signed their new deal in October, issued the following statement: “Congratulations to the SAG-AFTRA Negotiating Committee for reaching a tentative agreement after striking for 118 days to address the challenges actors were facing. We are thrilled to see SAGAFTRA members get a contract which gives them new protections and a larger share of the value they When workers are united, they win!”
The SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee today sent the below message to its membership:
We are thrilled and proud to tell you that today your TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee voted unanimously to approve a tentative agreement with the AMPTP. As of 12:01am PT, Nov. 9, the strike has been officially suspended and all picket sites are closed. We will contact you in the next few days to let you know about celebrations taking place around the country. Our Pension & Health caps were raised substantially, adding much-needed value to our plans. In addition, the deal includes numerous improvements for multiple categories including outsize compensation increases for background performers, and critical contract provisions protecting diverse communities.
We have arrived at a contract that will enable SAG-AFTRA members from every category to build sustainable careers. This work will benefit thousands of performers, now and in the future. We stand in solidarity with you and will be there when you need us. It is because of YOU that these improvements became possible.
In solidarity and gratitude,
Your TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee
Today’s tentative agreement represents a new paradigm. The agreement gives SAG-AFTRA its biggest contract-on-contract gain in history, including the largest minimum wage increase in forty years. The AMPTP is happy to have reached a preliminary agreement and looks forward for the industry to resume the work of telling stories.”