SAG-AFTRA Reaches Deal With Hollywood Studios to End Actors Strike

Hurricane Hilary is approaching Los Angeles as striking actors walked the picket line in New York City on Friday, July 14, 2023. (Credit: Twitter/@sagaftra)

SAG-AFTRA, the union representing film and TV actors, approved a tentative contract with Hollywood studios on Wednesday, ending a 118-day strike.

The union released a statement to its members saying the strike would officially end on Nov. 9, after an agreement was reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) — which represents the studios, streaming services and major production companies.

“We are thrilled and proud to tell you that today your TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee voted unanimously to approve a tentative agreement with the AMPTP,” the statement said. “As of 12:01 a.m. PT on Nov. 9, our strike is officially suspended and all picket locations are closed.”

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The announcement came after union negotiators held marathon talks with the AMPTP over the last few days.

At issue were residual payments when TV shows and movies re-air and stream online; increased contributions to the union’s health and pension plans; and new rules to prevent companies from using artificial intelligence to reproduce an actor’s likeness.

The union said the new contract is “valued at over one billion dollars.”

Additional details were expected to be released in the coming hours.

The Writers Guild of America, which also spent the summer on strike, congratulated SAG-AFTRA for standing firm until it reached a favorable contract.

“We’re thrilled to see SAG-AFTRA members win a contract that creates
new protections for performers and gives them a greater share of the immense value they create,” WGA leaders said in a statement.

SAG-AFTRA called the strike on July 13.

The union said at the time, performers were to immediately stop acting, singing, dancing, performing stunts, doing voice acting, narration, stand-up work and working as background extras.

SAG-AFTRA members were also told not to attend movie premieres, press junkets or promote their projects for consideration at the Emmy Awards, Oscars, or other awards programs.

On July 14, actors around the country began walking the picket line.

With the majority of actors living in Los Angeles and New York, the two cities were hard-hit by the work stoppage.

In addition to movie and TV productions shutting down, companies that rely on the entertainment industry, such as restaurants, prop houses, catering businesses, dry cleaners, and car services all suffered crushing financial blows.

As soon as the tentative agreement was announced, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said she was relieved the L-A economy would soon “get back on its feet.”

“I am grateful that a fair agreement has been reached between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP after a more than 100-day strike that impacted millions in Los Angeles and throughout the country,” Bass said in a statement. “Those on the line have been the hardest hit during this period and there have been ripple effects throughout our entire city.”

She added, “Today’s tentative agreement is going to impact nearly every part of our economy. Now, we must lean in on local production to ensure that our entertainment industry rebounds stronger than ever and our economy is able to get back on its feet.”