LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hollywood’s actors union reached a tentative agreement with studios Wednesday to end the strike and months of labor disputes that have brought the film and television industries to a historic standstill.
The three-year contract must be approved by votes from the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists board and its members in the coming days, but leadership said the strike would end at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
“We have entered into a contract that enables SAG-AFTRA members of all categories to build sustainable careers,” the union said in a statement. “Many thousands of artists will benefit from this work now and in the future.”
At almost four months, it was by far the longest strike of any film and television actor.
More than 60,000 SAG-AFTRA members went on strike July 14, joining screenwriters who had left their jobs more than two months earlier. It was the first time since 1960 that the two unions went on strike together. The studios and writers reached an agreement that ended their strike on September 26th.
Terms of the agreement were not immediately released. The union valued the deal at more than $1 billion and said details would be released after a meeting Friday at which board members would review the contract. Issues on the table included both short-term compensation and future royalties for film and television performances, as well as control over the images and likenesses of actors regenerated using artificial intelligence.
“This tentative agreement represents a new paradigm. It provides SAG-AFTRA with the largest contractual gains in the union’s history, including the largest minimum wage increase in the last forty years; a new residual for streaming programs; comprehensive consent and compensation protection when using artificial intelligence; and significant contract increases for items across the board,” the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said in a statement Wednesday evening. The organization, which negotiates on behalf of major studios and streaming companies, said it looks forward to the industry getting back to its work of telling great stories.
Executives from leading entertainment companies such as Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery and Universal were directly involved in the negotiations.
The Writers Guild of America applauded Wednesday’s deal. “We are pleased to see SAG-AFTRA members win a contract that creates new protections for artists and gives them a greater share of the immense value they create,” the union said in a statement. “When workers are united, they win!”
Although the writers’ strike had an immediate, visible impact on viewers, including the months-long suspension of late-night talk shows and “Saturday Night Live,” the impact of the actors’ absence was not as immediately apparent. But the aftereffects — delayed release dates and waits for new seasons of shows — could be felt for months or even years.
Actors should quickly return to film sets where productions have been paused, including “Deadpool 3,” “Gladiator 2” and “Wicked.” Filming for other films and series will resume once the returning writers complete their scripts.
And beyond scripted productions, the end of the strike allows actors to return to red carpets, talk shows and podcasts as Hollywood’s awards season approaches.
“The SAG strike is over!! Finally I can say it: Watch my documentary Saturday night at 8 p.m. on HBO/MAX!” said actor and director Albert Brooks on social media shortly after the strike ended. “Couldn’t say a word until now!!”
The only major awards show directly affected by the strike was the Emmys, which was postponed from September to January. Now the usual fall Oscar campaigns will mobilize.
But any sense of normality in the industry could prove temporary. The circumstances that led to the strikes – the shift from traditional cinema and broadcast media to streaming and new technologies such as AI – have not been slowed down. And the gains achieved by the strikes could encourage other Hollywood unions or the same guilds in negotiations that will resume in just a few years.
From the start, union leaders viewed the strike as a turning point because it came amid broader labor disputes in other industries.
“I think it’s a conversation now about the culture of big business and how it treats everyone up and down the corporate ladder in the name of profit,” SAG-AFTRA president and “The Nanny” star Fran Drescher told in August The Associated Press interview.
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the executive director and chief negotiator who led the team that negotiated the deal for the guild, told the AP in August that he was honored to help ensure our members received a fair contract that gave them Protecting you is going into the future and making sure that the 14-year-olds I spoke to on the Disney picket line still have the ability to be actors when they’re 18.”
The agreement also means a return to sets for thousands of film crew members who had nothing to work on during the strikes. SAG-AFTRA tried to offset their distress by facilitating sometimes controversial interim agreements for some smaller productions and making its strike relief fund available to all workers in the industry.
Associated Press Writer Krysta Fauria contributed to this report.
For more information on the actors and writers strike, see:
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