Los Angeles, United States, Dec 5 (EFE).- The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists ratified Tuesday the collective agreement that will govern the next three years of their contractual relationship with Hollywood studios.
The decision passed by a majority – with 78.33 percent of votes in favor and 21.67 percent against.
“Today we close out one of the most important chapters in recent entertainment industry history (…) This contract is an enormous victory for working performers, and it marks the dawning of a new era for the industry,” union President Fran Drescher and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland wrote in a statement.
Tuesday’s figures by the performers’ union show only 38.15 percent of the 160,000 unionized actors exercised their right to vote.
The principle of agreement between SAG-AFRA and the Alliance of Film and Television Producers reached on Nov. 8 had already marked the end of an actors’ strike that lasted 118 days. Together with the union strikes of screenwriters between May and September, it kept the American entertainment industry paralyzed with multi-million-dollar losses.
The film and television agreement includes an immediate minimum salary increase of 7 percent for general actors and 11 percent in the case of extras, as well as greater protections regarding the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in cinema and television.
However, the voting process was divided by the concerns of some actors regarding protections against AI, such as the possibility that “synthetic actors” could obtain a role in productions or the lack of an express prohibition on companies that do not train their AI systems with real scenes.
The contract will only allow studios to use this technology to create “digital replicas” of actors if they have the consent of the performers and remunerate them for it, and its use will require a specific description and justification.
Another critical point of the conflict between the studios and the performers was centered on remuneration for the retransmission of works on streaming platforms.
In this sense, the agreement includes a new fund to compensate actors who have participated in popular productions that reach a certain level of success, which will amount to approximately $40 million annually.
The new agreement is in force from Nov. 9, the day the strike officially ended, until Jun. 30, 2026, but sections such as AI will come into force 90 days after ratification, unless the studies and the platforms decide to accelerate their validity.
The historic strike involving SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America has resulted in losses of $6.5 billion for the California economy and the layoffs of 45,000 workers, according to the US labor department. EFE