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SAG-AFTRA ratifies new contract with studios

SAG-AFTRA said late Monday that its members have voted to approve a new three-year contract with the major Hollywood studios, ratifying the tentative agreement that the union reached in July.

Members of the screen actors union voted nearly 76% in favor of the contract, though only slightly more than 15% of the 140,000 eligible members cast their ballots.

The contract, which retroactively goes into effect from July 1, faced vocal opposition from some members including actor Esai Morales, who is one of several candidates running for union president.

SAG-AFTRA said the new contract will guarantee raises of 2.5% to 3% for each year, as well as increased pension and retirement contributions. In addition, it provides for earlier and bigger residuals, with an increase of more than 300% for content streamed on new media platforms such as Netflix and Amazon.

"I thank the many members who had input throughout this process. The gains in this contract reflect their hard work and their voices in negotiations," Gabrielle Carteris, SAG-AFTRA president, said in a statement.

Carteris was elected president in 2016 and is running for reelection.

The union negotiated the new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the bargaining organization that represents studios, broadcast networks and major cable networks.

Before the tentative agreement was reached in the early hours of July 4, SAG-AFTRA had threatened a strike after the two sides failed to make sufficient progress on critical issues. But a strike was never called.

Opposition to the new SAG-AFTRA contract included demands for better gains in travel costs as well as advancements for background artists, dancers and other performers.

SAG-AFTRA is the last of the three big Hollywood unions to ratify a new contract. Both the Writers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America ratified their new three-year contracts earlier this year.

david.ng@latimes.com

@DavidNgLAT

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