The union said they will end the longest actors strike against the film and TV studios in Hollywood history at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.
The SAG-AFTRA actors’ union reached a tentative agreement with Hollywood studios to resolve the second of two strikes that rocked the entertainment industry as workers demanded higher pay in the streaming TV era, the union said on Wednesday.
SAG-AFTRA to end strike
SAG-AFTRA members left the job in mid-July, asking for an increase in minimum salaries, a share of streaming service revenue and protection from being replaced by “digital replicas” generated by artificial intelligence (AI).
The union said negotiators had reached a preliminary deal on a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), representing Walt Disney, Netflix, and other media companies.
The breakthrough means Hollywood can ramp up to full production for the first time since May once union members vote to ratify the deal in the coming weeks.
Actors had similar concerns to film and television writers, who argued that compensation for working-class cast members had dwindled as streaming took hold, making it hard to earn a living wage in cities such as Los Angeles and New York. TV series on streaming did not offer the same residual payments that actors enjoyed during the heyday of broadcast TV.
Performers also became alarmed by recent advances in artificial intelligence, which they feared could lead to studios manipulating their likenesses without permission or replacing human actors with digital images.
George Clooney and other A-list stars voiced solidarity with lower-level actors and urged union leadership, including SAG-AFTRA President and “The Nanny” actor Fran Drescher, to resolve. With little work available, many prop masters, costume designers, and other crew members struggled to make ends meet.
FilmLA, the group that approves filming permits, reported scripted production during the week of Oct. 29 had fallen 77% from the same time a year earlier.
The Hollywood strikes came during a year of other high-profile job actions. The United Auto Workers recently ended six weeks of walkouts at Detroit carmakers. Teachers, nurses, and healthcare workers also walked off the job.
Hollywood’s work stoppages forced broadcast networks to fill their fall lineups with re-runs, game shows, and reality shows. It also led movie studios to delay big releases like Dune: Part 2 because striking actors could not promote them.