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SAG-AFTRA strike call. Illustration: SAG-AFTRA

The Hollywood strike culminated in significant gains for the union

17 November, 2023 | Ricardo Changala

On November 8, the SAG-AFTRA union (Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), representing a substantial portion of acting personnel in “Hollywood” and various related work areas, announced an agreement with employers, bringing an end to an extensive strike.

This 118-day strike halted numerous film and television productions following several unsuccessful attempts to reach an agreement with the Alliance of Film and Television Producers (AMPTP), which includes major companies in the industry such as Amazon, Discovery, Disney, Netflix, and Warner Bros, among others.

With approximately 160.000 workers represented in the sector, SAG-AFTRA commenced its strike concurrently with the Writers Guild of America (WGA), where around 11,500 screenwriters had been on strike since May 2. The screenwriters’ union leadership reached an agreement with employers on September 25, ratified by its members two weeks later.

“We are thrilled and proud to announce that today, your Television and Theatre Negotiating Committee unanimously approved a tentative agreement with the AMPTP. Our strike is officially suspended as of 12:01 a.m. on November 9, and all picket locations are now closed. Further information regarding celebratory meetings nationwide will be communicated in the upcoming days,” stated the union.

The provisional agreement, valued at over $1 billion, received unanimous approval and includes an increased minimum wage, enhanced health and pension contributions considered “above average,” new provisions on consent, restrictions on artificial intelligence use, and royalties from streaming service revenues.

“We’ve secured a contract enabling SAG-AFTRA members across all categories to establish sustainable careers. Numerous artists, present, and future, will benefit from this effort. Substantial increases in our Pension and Health benefits provide much-needed value to our plans. Additionally, the agreement encompasses various enhancements for different categories, offering significant compensation hikes for performers and crucial contract provisions safeguarding diverse communities,” the statement elaborated.

The AMPTP expressed its agreement with the terms and signaled readiness to resume halted film production tasks resulting from the strike.

These union achievements add to recent milestones, notably those of the UAW union in the automotive sector, signifying a transformed reality in U.S. labor relations, previously unimaginable.

Throughout these prolonged and intricate strikes, workers received extensive support, including from numerous prominent artists and, notably in the automotive sector, President Biden himself, who actively participated in some of the UAW’s organized pickets.