SAG-AFTRA Members to Vote on “Landmark” Deal with Studios, Includes Wage Increases and Other Improvements

SAG-AFTRA Members to Vote on "Landmark" Deal with Studios, Includes Wage Increases and Other Improvements

SAG-AFTRA, the union representing more than 160,000 actors and other performers, has reached a tentative agreement with the major studios and producers on a new three-year contract that covers film and television work.

SAG-AFTRA, the union representing more than 160,000 actors and other performers, has reached a tentative agreement with the major studios and producers on a new three-year contract that covers film and television work. The deal, which was announced on Monday, November 11, 2023, after 116 days of strike, includes significant gains on wages, streaming residuals, artificial intelligence protections, and health plan contributions.

According to the union, the deal provides wage increases of 2.5% in the first year, 3% in the second year, and 3% in the third year, with options to divert 0.5% to the health plan or the pension plan in years two and three. The deal also introduces a new success-based streaming bonus that pays performers additional residuals based on the number of subscribers or views of a streaming service or show. The bonus is expected to generate more than $1 billion in additional compensation for performers over the life of the contract.

The deal also addresses one of the main sticking points of the negotiations: the use of artificial intelligence to scan, capture, and re-use the likenesses of performers. The deal establishes new rules and safeguards for performers whose images are scanned or recorded for future use, such as requiring consent, disclosure, and compensation. The deal also prohibits the use of deepfake technology to replace a performer’s voice or face without their permission.

SAG-AFTRA Leaders Break Silence: How the Strike Was Ended
SAG-AFTRA Leaders Break Silence: How the Strike Was Ended

The deal also increases the employer contributions to the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan by 1% in the first year, which the union says will generate about $54 million in additional funding over the next three years. The health plan, which faced a financial crisis last year due to the pandemic and rising health care costs, had to cut benefits and raise eligibility requirements for thousands of members. The union hopes that the increased contributions will help stabilize the plan and restore some of the lost benefits.

The deal, which was negotiated by a team of SAG-AFTRA leaders and staff, along with a group of studio CEOs and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), is being hailed by both sides as a “landmark” agreement that reflects the changing landscape of the entertainment industry. The deal comes after months of tense and sometimes stalled talks, as well as a historic strike that disrupted the production and release of many film and TV projects.

The deal still needs to be approved by the SAG-AFTRA National Board and ratified by the union’s membership. The ratification vote is set to start on Tuesday, November 12, 2023, and will last for two weeks. The union is urging its members to vote “yes” on the deal, saying that it is the best possible outcome for the performers and the industry. The union also thanked its members for their solidarity and support during the strike, which it says was instrumental in achieving the deal.

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