Actors union approves deal to end strike against studios

November 9, 2023

The actors union SAG-AFTRA on Wednesday approved a tentative agreement to end its months-long strike against the Hollywood studios.

The strike officially ended at 12:01am on Thursday. 

After two days of both sides hammering out the final details, the union’s negotiating committee approved the agreement by unanimous vote. The deal next goes to the union’s national board for approval Friday.

The 160,000 members of SAG-AFTRA, Hollywood’s largest union, walked off the job on July 13, demanding increases in base pay and residuals amid the streaming era, along with assurances that their work will not be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI).

SAG-AFTRA said the contract to which it agreed with the trade association Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which bargains on behalf of studios, is worth more than $1 billion in total.

The new deal includes most minimum pay to increase by 7%, which is 2% above the increases that the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Directors Guild of America receive. 

The agreement also includes a “streaming participation bonus.” It additionally includes increases in pension and health care contributions. 

And the AMPTP late last month had agreed to obtain consent from actors before creating AI replicas of their images and voices.

When the actors walked off the job in July, they were joining  already-striking members of the WGA, who in late September came to a contract agreement with the AMPTP.

Negotiations between the actors and the studios resumed last month after the writers’ deal was struck. 

Though the TV networks’ late-night talk shows resumed after the writers ended their strike, as long as the actors remained on the picket line major portions of the entertainment industry were stuck in limbo. 

Despite the strikes, Disney posted better-than-expected earnings this week, but profits from the sports channel ESPN+ and continued growth at its theme parks were mostly responsible.

By contrast, Warner Bros. Discovery reported a net loss of $417 million for the third quarter, slightly less than the  $500 million hit the studio said in a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it might suffer because of the work stoppages.

PHOTO: Actors union strikers in New York City Oct 11

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