The Big Picture

  • The longest strike in SAG-AFTRA’s history finally comes to an end with a three-year deal, allowing Hollywood to return to work in as little as three weeks.
  • “Historic” package ensures significant increases to wages and bonuses, with studio heads offering protections against AI to bring an end to the labor dispute.
  • While SAG-AFTRA’s deal is a step forward, there are still labor issues in Hollywood to address, including VFX workers unionizing and a potential strike in the video game industry.

At long last, the Screen Actors Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have come together on an agreement that would bring an end to their 118-day labor standoff. The tentative three-year deal was made following renewed bargaining sessions between top SAG-AFTRA brass and studio heavyweights like Ted Sarandos, David Zaslav, Donna Langley, and Bob Iger. With the end of the strike, Hollywood could be back to work in full swing in as soon as three weeks, as the actors are now able to rejoin their Writers Guild of America brethren, who fought for and won their deal back in September. The SAG Strike will officially end at 12:01 a.m. PT, November 9.

The agreement came in part thanks to a “historic” package which earned significant increases to wages and bonuses. The final hang-up was concerning AI, which studio heads finally offered significant protections against to bring this fight to a close after recently renewed discussions with the union. “We didn’t just come toward you, we came all the way to you,” Sarandos told guild leadership Saturday as they were hashing out finer details of the deal. Barring any surprise hang-ups in that process, however, it’s likely that the deal will be affirmed by the body of over 160,000 SAG-AFTRA members and officially put the work stoppage to an end. This marked the longest strike in the union’s history.

Once the deal is official, it will finally end a long and bitter labor fight that has been brewing since May when the WGA first took to the picket lines. SAG-AFTRA would eventually join the writers in July for very similar reasons – a need for better pay, conditions, and protections from the threat of AI – but initially, there were threats of a triple strike with the Director’s Guild of America also considering walking out. Although that never came to pass, getting hit on both fronts left major studios with massive losses throughout the dual strike. Of course, the sacrifices for individual writers, actors, and other workers throughout the entertainment sector were also great as the Southern California economy lost more than $6.5 billion and 45,000 entertainment industry jobs, though they were instrumental in securing a better future for the entire industry. Through solidarity, the unions were able to keep their fellow strikers afloat while making substantial change.

SAG-AFTRA’s Deal Is a Huge Step Forward, But Labor Strife Remains

SAG-AFTRA Union members join the WAG in their strike
Image via NBC News

Even after such historic efforts, Hollywood still has to reckon with some of its labor demons. VFX workers at Walt Disney Pictures and Marvel have made the long-overdue move to unionize, a historic effort that could finally secure better pay, benefits, and conditions for an often overlooked sector of the industry. In addition, SAG-AFTRA still has its sights set on the video game industry after authorizing a strike for voice acting roles in games. While the authorization doesn’t mean a work stoppage is guaranteed, it does add extra leverage and the possibility that another labor fight is in the cards assuming major companies like Activision Productions, Electronic Arts Productions, Take 2 Productions, and Insomniac Games don’t offer fair deals.

Stay tuned here at Collider for updates as SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP hash out the remaining details of their deal. While we wait for more information, read our full write-up on the WGA’s deal and what it means for you and the industry going forward.

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