SAG-AFTRA’s national board has recommended ratifying the 2023 TV/theatrical contracts deal reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) last week.
Late last week, the union’s negotiating committee approved the latest AMPTP proposal, suspending the strike that shut down most television and film production. The national board voted 86 percent to approve the new contract.
“I was determined to redefine SAG-AFTRA as not only the largest entertainment union in the world but the most powerful,” said Fran Drescher, the president of SAG-AFTRA. “And now that we have forged the biggest deal in industry history which broke pattern, established new revenue streams and passed a historic $1 billion-plus dollar deal with the most progressive AI protections ever written, I feel pretty confident in saying this is a paradigm shift of seismic proportions! I am so proud of the TV/theatrical negotiating committee and so thrilled to have partnered with Duncan Crabtree-Ireland.”
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, executive director and chief negotiator, added: “Grateful doesn’t even begin to describe my appreciation of the TV/theatrical negotiating committee for their incredible efforts in reaching this tentative agreement. I also want to applaud and thank President Drescher for her visionary and courageous leadership, which was the heart and soul of this effort and drove tremendous unity among our members and the negotiating committee. Once ratified, this deal will fundamentally reset how our membership is compensated to account for the growth of streaming and, for the first time, institute deep protections against the encroachment of AI technology.
“At its core, this deal is about our members and making sure they are able to maintain the dignity that comes with a career as an actor and performer. This deal is possible because of their solidarity and unwavering commitment throughout this process. The sacrifices made by our members and our union siblings throughout the past 118 days are creating a fairer industry for all moving forward.”
The deal includes AI protections, among them consent and compensation for the creation and use of digital replicas of members, living and deceased. There are two wage increases in the first year of the contract: 7 percent upon ratification, and another 4 percent increase effective July 2024. There will be another 3.5 percent increase effective July 2025. This package breaks the so-called “industry pattern.” Wages for background actors will increase by 11 percent effective November 12, 2023, and then by an additional 4 percent effective July 1, 2024, and by another 3.5 percent effective July 1, 2025.
The deal also sees increased contributions to health and pension/retirement funds, and the creation of a new compensation stream for streaming. The new deal provides a substantial bonus on top of existing residuals structures. It also applies television terms to high budget made-for-AVOD programming.
The tentative deal now moves to the union’s members for a formal vote, with a deadline of December 5.