SAG-AFTRA Committee Approves Tentative Deal to End the Strike

SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood studios reached a deal to end their more than four month-long strike.

After nearly 17 weeks on the picket lines, the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have struck a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the studios and streamers that produce a vast majority of filmed content. 

The two groups reached a tentative agreement on a new contract on Wednesday with SAG-AFTRA, ET confirmed. The strike would officially end at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 9.

"In a unanimous vote this afternoon, The SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical Committee approved a tentative agreement with the AMPTP bringing an end to the 118 day strike," the union told ET in a statement. "The strike officially ends at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, November 9."

The contract would boost minimum pay for members, increase residual payments for shows streamed online, bolster contributions to the union's health and pension plans, and establish new rules for the use of artificial intelligence.

The agreement next goes to the SAG-AFTRA national board for approval on Friday. 

"We have arrived at a contract that will enable SAG-AFTRA members from every category to build sustainable careers. Many thousands of performers now and into the future will benefit from this work," SAG-AFTRA said in a statement. 

"In a contract valued at over one billion dollars, we have achieved a deal of extraordinary scope that includes "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. In addition, the deal includes numerous improvements for multiple categories including outsize compensation increases for background performers, and critical contract provisions protecting diverse communities."

The tentative deal was struck six weeks after the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike officially came to an end. 

The WGA and AMPTP reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year deal on Sept. 25, and announced its official end the following day.

SAG-AFTRA officialized its strike on July 14, joining WGA writers already 10 weeks into their own work stoppage. The move marked the first time in 63 years that Hollywood's writers and actors have joined in a strike together. Though the specifics of each union's demands differed, both were in pursuit of broader protections for their members over contract minimums and the restriction of generative AI used for content creation.

Per The New York Times, the dual strikes have been financially devastating, with more than 100,000 behind-the-scenes workers like location scouts, makeup artists and lighting technicians out of work as the WGA and SAG-AFTRA fight for a fair labor contract against the AMPTP. The California economy has lost an estimated $5 billion.

Major studios like Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global have seen their stock prices drop. Analysts have estimated that the global box office will lose as much as $1.6 billion in ticket sales because of movies whose releases were pushed back to next year.

While many hoped that the writers' deal would give actors and studios a blueprint for their negotiations, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the executive director and chief negotiator for the actors' union, explained to NYT that SAG-AFTRA had different asks. While he noted that the new level of transparency reached between writers and the streaming companies regarding residual payments was "huge," he pointed out that actors are looking to secure "a revenue-sharing deal with the studios," a proposal the alliance has deemed a non-starter.

"We really feel that the companies need to share a share of the revenue that's coming from streaming," Crabtree-Ireland said. "And we are not presently considering an approach that doesn't attach in that way."

According to an internal release from SAG-AFTRA, obtained by outlet, the tentative deal is details on the agreement.

On Thursday, ET spoke with Michael Schneider, TV editor at Variety, and he shared some insight on what the next steps in the process will likely be.

"Right now the the goal is to get shows that people have been waiting for back on the air, shows that people are familiar with, and shows that should have already been on the air on the broadcast networks," Schneider shared, adding that studios are most likely interested in salvaging as much of the fall and winter TV seasons as possible. "So, the goal is to get those on first, and then we can worry about other new shows. But because there is going to be quite a crunch, not everything can start up at the same time. So let's focus on shows that viewers are really antsy to see."

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Networks like HBO are keen to get back to work on their critical hits, such as House of DragonLast of Us and The White Lotus.

"If everyone is back to work by the end of October, for example, then you have November, December into January to get things written, shot, and then on the air," Schneider proposed. "So, by mid-January you could start to see at least some of the broadcast shows coming back. And then, later on, more of the premium streaming and cable shows by mid-2024." 

This was the WGA's first strike since 2008, when the union picketed for 14 weeks. SAG last struck against the studios for three months in 1980. (Their most recent strike, in 2000, was against commercial advertising interests.) 

The WGA, founded 1933, is comprised of two labor unions, WGA West and WGA East, which combined, represents over 11,000 members. SAG, founded in 1933, merged with AFTRA, founded 1937, in 2012. The now-joint union represents about 160,000 members. Since Hollywood's inception, writers and actors have struck against studios some 20 different times.