Hollywood’s summer of labor action might have largely been over when SAG-AFTRA announced it had reached a tentative deal with the AMPTP a month ago—but it’s not over until it’s over, and we’ve finally reached that moment. Or at least we have for another three years.
Overnight SAG-AFTRA revealed that its membership had voted to ratify the three-year contract negotiated by the union and Hollywood studios’ negotiation arm and first revealed in early November, bringing a pause to the almost-three-month strike period. Although the deal had already been approved by SAG-AFTRA’s board shortly after the strike paused, it then had to go to the wider union membership for ratification. It’s a step that could for the most part have been procedural, but there were lingering concerns about the tentative agreement’s A.I. protections that some parties saw as not going far enough to protect actors, and could ultimately scupper the agreement and see SAG and the AMPTP return to negotiations once again.
However, those concerns seem to have largely been abated with the outcome of the ratification vote. With ratification requiring a 50% + 1 plurality to go ahead, Deadline reports that 78.33% of voting members supported approving the contract, a slim net gain over prior ratification votes for contracts in 2020 (74%) and 2017 (76%). Turnout for the ratification vote was markedly higher than recent ratification votes too, with 38.15% of SAG-AFTRA’s 160,000+ membership participating—a significant proportional increase on the 27.2% that voted in 2020, and even further on the just 15.3% that voted in 2017.
“I’m proud of our SAG-AFTRA membership. They struck for 118 days to grant the TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee the necessary leverage to secure over $US1 billion in gains, along with the union’s first-ever protections around AI technology,” SAG president Fran Drescher said in a press release. “Now they’ve locked in the gains by ratifying the contract. SAG-AFTRA members have remained incredibly engaged throughout this process, and I know they’ll continue their advocacy throughout our next negotiation cycle. This is a golden age for SAG-AFTRA, and our union has never been more powerful.”
The newly-ratified contract is set to expire on June 30, 2026, shortly ahead of which SAG-AFTRA will return to the negotiating table with the AMPTP—and off the back of one of the most major labor movements Hollywood has seen for the best part of a century, next time they’ll likely be going into talks with a lot more strength.
Want more entertainment news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and DC releases, what’s coming to cinemas in Australia this year, and everything streaming this month across all platforms. Check out our dedicated Entertainment tab for more.