Following today’s vote by the majority of the SAG-AFTRA National Board of Directors to approve the tentative agreement reached with studio CEOs and AMPTP earlier this week, the actors’ guild released more details on the agreement.
As it has repeatedly said over the past two days since reaching a deal with the studios to end the 118-day strike, the guild said Friday that “the total package” is “evaluated more than $1 billion in new salaries and benefit plan funding. .” Two days after the guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers reached a tentative agreement, they released more information on compensation on the deal on Friday, several hours after the National Council of SAG-AFTRA voted 86% to approve it.
An 80-page summary of the full agreement, which has not yet been made public, will be given to eligible guild members on November 13, I’ve heard. Voting to ratify the deal begins Nov. 14 and continues through the first week of December for the guild’s 160,000 members.
Calling the tentative agreement a “historic achievement for the union,” SAG-AFTRA this evening highlighted the “meaningful protections” and consent rights around AI – which had been a big sticking point in discussions with the studios. Unlike today’s press conference with SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher and National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, Friday’s missive from the guild did not provide specific numbers on the very vaulted “creation of a new remuneration stream for artists working in streaming”.
With the campaign to win members’ votes well underway, the guild also had a lot to say Friday about salary increases, casting guidelines, relocation allowances and health and welfare contribution limits. pension. In full presentation mode, some of this information was discussed in today’s press conference after the board’s vote, but in less detail – you can see it below:
The deal includes an unprecedented salary structure with two salary increases in the first year of the contract – 7% upon ratification, and another 4% increase starting in July 2024, a compound increase of 11, 28% for the first year of the contract. There will be another 3.5% increase starting in July 2025. This package breaks the so-called “industrial model”.
Salaries for background players will increase by 11% effective November 12, 2023, then an additional 4% effective July 1, 2024, and an additional 3.5% effective July 1, 2025. And in a monumental breakthrough, for the For the first time, the number of positions covered in the West Coast zones will be equal to that of the East Coast zones. This is expected to add nearly 11,000 new covered background work days per year.
An increase of almost 43% in the contribution cap for one-hour productions and almost 67% in the cap for half-hour productions will result in increased contributions to health and retirement funds, as well as ‘aid for artists working on these shows. to continue to be eligible for benefit coverage.
The union obtained the creation of a new remuneration stream for artists working in streaming. It offers a substantial bonus on top of existing residual structures, making streaming work more sustainable for middle-class actors. The majority of this compensation will be paid to actors in programs meeting certain audience requirements. The remaining money will be distributed to other players working on these streaming platforms via a new joint trust distribution fund. This ensures better remuneration and sustainability for a wider range of stakeholders contributing to the success of these platforms. The deal also adds fixed residuals for stunt coordinators working on television and new media productions.
The contract achieved significant gains in fairness in hair and makeup, sharing of overall diversity statistics, elimination of inappropriate wigs and paint, non-sexist language, access gender-affirming care and translation services. It also provides more sexual harassment prevention protections for performers, including the use of intimacy coordinators in scenes involving nudity and simulated or requested sex, as well as additional safeguards background.
Additional gains include establishing minimums by applying television conditions to big-budget AVOD programs.
Significant protections for the casting process have been established, including provisions specifying that details, sides and/or scripts must be provided at least 48 hours before the submission deadline (excluding weekends and holidays) . This is increased to 72 hours for minors. Talent may not be asked to complete more than eight (8) industry standard pages for a first self-registration or twelve (12) industry standard pages for a second callback or subsequent recall. Additionally, if memorization is required, artists will be entitled to compensation. And performers cannot be asked to appear nude or wear anything more revealing than a swimsuit that might be worn in a public swimming pool. Producers must also provide the opportunity to interview virtually or in person on a first-come, first-served basis, with accommodations for artists with disabilities, senior artists, and minors.
Substantial improvements to relocation allowances for series artists have also been made, covering $5,000 per month for up to 6 months with no cap on the number of seasons. Based on employment trends, this equates to an effective 153% increase in relocation benefits.
When considering these salary increases, the cumulative total of approximately 14.8% is better than the 13% the WGA received as part of its agreement a few months ago. But the rate of increase and the two hikes by July 2024 have more to do with finalizing contact with SAG-AFTRA so late in 2023 – perhaps not as broken from the industry model, as the claims the guild.
SAG-AFTRA’s criteria for its streaming bonus fund is also similar to the WGA’s agreement. Both appear to be interested in streaming series and movies “that are viewed by 20% or more of the service’s domestic subscribers within the first 90 days of release,” to quote the WGA agreement.
Stating that “our projections are going to have to be sort of stress tested,” Crabtree-Ireland confirmed in press on Friday that the total payout to guild members from the streaming bonus fund will be around $120 million dollars over the life of the new contract, or $40 million per year. While creating a new “pocket” for casting, as Drescher put it, and introducing the notion into future negotiations, this $120 million is well below the $500 million that SAG-AFTRA had requested in the requests for revenue sharing at the very beginning of negotiations. .
With all this, Drescher herself admitted that the criteria for the new pay stream for performers that doesn’t even begin to flow unless a show is watched by 20% of a boat’s subscriber base steam will mean nothing to a “thimble of shows”. Attempting to head off potential criticism of the $120 million streaming bonus fund, which could have caused 14% of the guild’s national board to vote against the contract before today’s much-delayed press conference Today, the recently re-elected SAG-AFTRA boss said she hopes to see that 20% drop to 10% during the next contract negotiations, which will begin before the contract expires on June 30, 2026, if it is ratified.
Speaking to Deadline after Friday’s press conference, Drescher also gave some insight into what she’s preparing for 2026 negotiations with studios and “planning our game and implementing our plan.”
At today’s press conference, guild president Drescher and chief negotiator Crabtree-Ireland hailed the deal for breaking typical negotiations and being “revolutionary for the industry”. This is the same talking point language used in the SAG-AFTRA material sent out this evening. It remains to be seen whether this is the case as a whole or whether the SAG-AFTRA agreement has many of the characteristics of what the long-striking DGA and WGA achieved in June and September of this year, respectively. and the fine print.