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SAG-AFTRA reaches deal with studios on a new contract

SAG-AFTRA headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.
(Tommaso Boddi / WireImage)

In a sign of easing labor tensions, two of three major Hollywood unions have now agreed to a new labor contract.

SAG-AFTRA, the industry’s biggest union, tentatively agreed on terms for a new collective bargaining agreement with an alliance of producers, they said in a joint statement.

The union, representing about 160,000 performers, broadcasters and actors, estimated the value of the proposed three-year contract covering motion pictures, scripted prime-time dramatic television and new media production at $318 million.

“After participating in more than a decade of negotiations, this is one of the most meaningful packages we have ever secured,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris in a statement.

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The contract will now go the union’s national board for review and must be approved by members before it takes effect.

The agreement is patterned after a deal struck by the Directors Guild of America with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) that secured increases in minimum salaries and improvements to residual payments for shows that are streamed online — a major priority for Hollywood talent.

SAG-AFTRA’s deal includes wage increases of 2.5% in the first year and 3% in the second and third years of the contract. Performers will also get improved residuals paid for high-budget subscription streaming productions, which includes Amazon, Disney+ and Hulu.

Additional terms include an estimated $54 million in extra funding over the next three years for the SAG-AFTRA health plan, additional travel perks and improvements in overtime pay for stunt performers as well as protections for actors around nudity and sex scenes.

“This agreement represents significant and much needed monies to our pension, health and retirement plans, and compensation gains designed to protect the current and next generation of our membership, particularly in the area of high-budget subscription streaming residuals,” said SAG-AFTRA national executive director and chief negotiator David White in a statement.

The current contract had been due to expire June 30.

Last summer, Netflix, which is not part of the producers alliance, struck a deal with SAG-AFTRA that applied a minimum salary and turnaround provisions for all Netflix programs and offered more flexibility in scheduling day performers and guest stars on episodic series.

The AMPTP is still in talks with the Writers Guild of America, which many in the film and television industry had feared could end up going on strike.

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The sides agreed to extend the existing WGA contract for two months to June 30 to allow more time for negotiations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Labor friction has abated as unions and studios have collaborated on safety protocols for resuming filming this summer after the pandemic halted production and created widespread hardships for Hollywood workers.


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