The US actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA, has reached a “preliminary agreement” with Hollywood studio executives, effectively ending the longest strike in the union’s history, spanning 118 days.
The strike, which started on July 14, 2023, has had a significant impact on Hollywood productions. The decision to conclude the strike was reached through a unanimous vote and is scheduled to take effect at 12:01 AM US Pacific time on Thursday.
Representing approximately 160,000 members of the entertainment industry, SAG-AFTRA engaged in extensive negotiations to secure the terms of the agreement, addressing various critical issues, with a particular focus on artificial intelligence (AI).
This development followed the presentation of a “last, best, and final” offer by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the body representing studios, streaming services, and producers in these discussions.
The tentative agreement will be subjected to review and consideration by the SAG-AFTRA national board on the upcoming Friday.
According to a statement from the union, the contract represents an “extraordinary scope” with an estimated value of over one billion dollars.
Notable provisions within the contract include safeguards against the potential threat of AI and “unprecedented provisions for consent and compensation.”
The statement further notes, “We have arrived at a contract that will enable SAG-AFTRA members from every category to build sustainable careers, and many thousands of performers now and into the future will benefit from this work.”
The AMPTP described the tentative agreement as ushering in a “new way of doing things” and highlights several significant gains, such as the largest increase in minimum wages in the last four decades, a novel residual system for streaming content, and substantial protections regarding consent and compensation in AI usage.
Prominent figures in the entertainment industry have expressed their excitement and relief at the news. Actor Zac Efron, speaking at the premiere of “The Iron Claw,” expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “This is great news.
I’m so happy that we’re all able to come to an agreement, let’s get back to work.” Alec Baldwin and other celebrities celebrated the resolution on social media.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass acknowledged the impact of the strike on the city’s economy and expressed gratitude that a “fair agreement” had been reached.
She emphasized the potential for the tentative agreement to stimulate local production and revive the entertainment industry.
The strike has significantly affected Hollywood and had ripple effects in other parts of the world, including the UK. The historic agreement may bring relief to the industry, but its effects will continue to be felt as studios work to catch up with delayed release schedules for many programs and franchises.
This resolution follows a period of negotiation during which the union reported that industry executives had “walked away from the bargaining table” after declining their latest offer, which had caused “profound disappointment.”
Hollywood has been facing considerable disruption due to both the actors’ and writers’ strikes, with the latter concluding in September after 146 days of picketing by the Writers Guild of America (WGA).