SAG-AFTRA Members Overwhelmingly Approve Contract, Ending Strike
In a historic move, members of SAG-AFTRA have voted to ratify the tentative deal that finally brought an end to the recent actors’ strike. With an impressive majority, 78.33 percent of members voted “yes” on the contract, while only 21.67 percent voted “no.”
The newly approved agreement, which will be retroactive to June 9, 2023, and extend until June 30, 2026, is being celebrated as a victory for working performers and a promising new era for the industry. Union President Fran Drescher and National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree Ireland were quick to praise the contract, emphasizing the gains and protections it offers to performers.
Congratulatory statements poured in from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, recognizing the significant strides made for performers through this agreement. The three-year contract introduces a series of positive changes, including a 7 percent increase in minimum wage rates for the first year. In subsequent years, minimum wages will rise by 4 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively.
In addition, the contract establishes important guardrails on the use of artificial intelligence, recognizing the growing presence of AI in the industry. Furthermore, it implements a streaming bonus and introduces new rules to regulate virtual interviews and auditions, reflecting the industry’s shift to remote work amid the pandemic.
The contract also addresses key concerns raised during the strike, such as the “caps” on contributions to pension and health plans, which have been raised to better support members. In a significant move, the agreement also recognizes performance capture work as covered union labor for the first time.
The strike, which overlapped with the Writers Guild of America’s work stoppage, had significant economic consequences and caused substantial delays in film and television production. Throughout the strike, one of the main points of contention was the inclusion of AI protections in the contract, sparking vigorous debates among union members.
To ensure a fair and inclusive voting process, SAG-AFTRA allowed members to cast their votes both online and by mail-in ballot. This method provided members with the flexibility to participate in the decision-making process regardless of their location or circumstances.
With this resounding approval, SAG-AFTRA can now return to full-scale operations, fostering an environment that supports its members and paves the way for a thriving entertainment industry in the years to come.