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Fran Drescher says SAG-AFTRA's board voted to approve historic deal

The Hollywood actors union's national board voted on Friday to officially approve the "record breaking" deal after weeks of methodical negotiations.
Fran Drescher says SAG-AFTRA's board voted to approve historic deal
Posted at 8:34 PM, Nov 10, 2023

SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher announced that the Hollywood union's national board voted on Friday to officially approve what was called a "record breaking" and historic tentative deal that ended a months-long grueling strike. 

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the chief negotiator and executive director for the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, told reporters that the agreement was approved with 86% voting in favor of the terms of a three-year contract agreement. 

The next step will be for the union's members to put the terms of the deal up for a vote. Members will now be informed of the details in the deal. The vote is expected to begin on Tuesday and carry on during a process that will last into the month of December. 

SEE MORE: SAG-AFTRA agrees on deal with studios after over 100 days on strike

After months of protesting, SAG-AFTRA said earlier this week it had reached a tentative deal with entertainment companies and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on new employment terms for Hollywood creators. 

The tentative deal all but ended what was considered one of the longest labor fights in Hollywood history, which had reached crisis levels at times during the weeks of picketing. 

At the center of the battle was high dissatisfaction over compensation from streaming providers, and fear over an ever-increasing presence of artificial intelligence technology encroaching on the industry and its workers. 

The union sent a message to its members writing, "We are thrilled and proud to tell you that ... [negotiators] voted unanimously to approve a tentative agreement."

According to a statement, the strike was officially suspended, with all picket locations closed down. 

"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," the union said.  

Actors joined in with screenwriters on picket lines over the summer. The strike lasted for 118 days, until parties were able to reach the tentative deal in a unanimous vote on Wednesday. 

The union said, after the tentative deal was reached this week, that "pension and health caps" were "substantially raised" which was expected to "bring much needed value" to the union's plans. 

The statement to members said, "The deal includes numerous improvements for multiple categories including outsize compensation increases for background performers, and critical contract provisions protecting diverse communities."

AMPTP released a statement late on Wednesday writing that the "tentative agreement represents a new paradigm," and said it "gives SAG-AFTRA the biggest contract-on-contract gains in the history of the union — including the largest increase in minimum wages in the last forty years; a brand new residual for streaming programs; extensive consent and compensation protections in the use of artificial intelligence; and sizable contract increases on items across the board. The AMPTP is pleased to have reached a tentative agreement and looks forward to the industry resuming the work of telling great stories."

Late last month SAG-AFTRA warned its members not to lose sight of the goal the organization had set out to achieve during its historic protest to gain leverage with entertainment companies. 

The union said at the time it remained willing and ready to continue negotiation with studios for its members. At one point, SAG-AFTRA even released guidance to members on how they can avoid "inadvertently" breaking strike rules during Halloween with their costumes. 

Then later that same month actor George Clooney led discussions with studios on ways to end the impasse between studios and the union representing actors. But, according to SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher, the plan was determined to have legal issues that caused it to not be feasible. 

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