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SAG-AFTRA Reaches Tentative Deal After Nearly 4-Month Strike

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SAG-AFTRA Reaches Tentative Deal After Nearly 4-Month Strike

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SAG-AFTRA Reaches Tentative Deal With AMPTP Strike Officially Ends After Nearly 4 Months 424
Mario Tama/Getty Images

SAG-AFTRA has officially reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract with the AMPTP after nearly four months on strike. 

The guild announced on Wednesday, November 8, that it approved the agreement in a unanimous vote. The strike is set to end at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, November 9. The deal will now go to SAG-AFTRA’s (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) national board for approval.

The news comes after two weeks of negations between the union and AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) — which includes major studios Disney, Netflix, Amazon, Warner Bros-Discovery, Apple, Universal, Sony, Paramount, ABC, NBC, FOX and CBS — and just short of the 5 p.m. deadline the AMPTP had set for the union to approve its “last, best and final” offer.

The two sides spent the last few days dealing with the final negotiations of the deal, which reportedly will see the first-ever protections for actors against artificial intelligence and a historic pay increase, per Variety, with most minimums increasing by seven percent, which is two percent above the increases received by the Writers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America.

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SAG-AFTRA leadership took to the guild’s official social media accounts on Wednesday to share the news. “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,” the statement read. “As of 12:01am on November 9, our strike is officially suspended and all picket locations are closed. We will be in touch in the coming days with information about celebration gatherings around the country.”

The statement noted that the new contract, which is “valued at over one billion dollars,”  will include “‘above-pattern’ minimum compensation increases, unprecedented provisions for consent and compensation that will protect members from the threat of AI, and for the first time establishes a streaming participation bonus.”

“Our Pension & Health caps have been substantially raised, which will bring much-needed value to our plans.” the statement continued. “In addition, the deal includes numerous improvements for multiple categories including outsize compensation increases for background performers, and critical contract provisions protecting diverse communities.”

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The organization concluded its statement by thanking their “union siblings” — who are the “workers that power this industry” — for the “sacrifices they have made while supporting our strike and that of the Writers Guild of America.”

SAG-AFTRA, which represents approximately 160,000 actors, began their strike in July, joining the efforts two months after the Writer’s Guild of America stopped work. The two unions made similar demands regarding better wages, increased residual payments from streaming services and protections against the use of artificial intelligence. 

The WGA and AMPTP reached a deal for a new three-year contract in September, releasing a 94-page contract at the time that included compensation gains, a new requirement for minimum staff levels in TV writer’s rooms, improvement payment terms for screenwriters and protections for the use of artificial intelligence.

In a message shared via social media at the time, SAG-AFTRA congratulated the WGA on the new development. “We look forward to reviewing the terms of the WGA and AMPTP’s tentative agreement. And we remain ready to resume our own negotiations with the AMPTP as soon as they are prepared to engage on our proposals in a meaningful way,” the organization noted.

SAG-AFTRA Reaches Tentative Deal With AMPTP Strike Officially Ends After Nearly 4 Months 425
Mario Tama/Getty Images

“We applaud your dedication, diligence and unwavering solidarity over the last five months and are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you as creative partners in the entertainment industry,” the social media statement read. “We look forward to reviewing the terms of the WGA and AMPTP’s tentative agreement. And we remain ready to resume our own negotiations with the AMPTP as soon as they are prepared to engage on our proposals in a meaningful way.”

Wednesday’s tentative agreement is on the heels of a tense few months between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP. In October, guild president Fran Drescher slammed the studios’ decision to suspend negotiations after months at the table.

“It really came as a shock to me because what does that exactly mean and why would you walk away from the table?” Drescher, 66, said during an episode of the Today show. “It’s not like we’re asking for anything that’s so outrageous.”

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According to the AMPTP, “the gap” between the studios and SAG-AFTRA was “too great,” with SAG-AFTRA’s proposal for actors to receive a two percent cut of streaming platform revenue causing the biggest divide. The AMPTP alleged that it would cost more than “$800 million per year” — an “untenable economic burden.”

In response, SAG-AFTRA accused the AMPTP of implementing “bullying tactics” against the guild and claimed it  “intentionally misrepresented to the press the cost of the above proposal” by 60 percent.

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