Negotiators for actors and the major studios are heading back to the bargaining table on Monday in an effort to end the ongoing strike by performers.
Last week, the Screen Actors Guild American Federation of Television and Radio Artists posted on social media, "SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP will meet for bargaining on Monday, October 2. Several executives from AMPTP member companies will be in attendance. As negotiations proceed, we will report any substantiative updates directly to you."
The announcement came on the heels of the end of the writers strike. Writers were permitted to resume work at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday after leaders of the Writers Guild of America endorsed a proposed contract agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, setting the stage for a ratification vote by union members, which is set to begin Monday.
The WGA strike began May 2, with actors going on strike in mid-July over many of the same issues, including residual formulas for streamed content and protections against the use of artificial intelligence.
The twin labor actions brought the entertainment industry to a halt, with actors and writers walking picket lines daily in front of the major Hollywood studios.
While negotiators for the WGA and the AMPTP, which represents the studios, worked hard to hash out their tentative deal, SAG AFTRA and the AMPTP have not had official talks since that strike began in July. SAG-AFTRA represents about 160,000 actors. Its demands include general wage increases, protections against the use of actor images through artificial intelligence, boosts in compensation for successful streaming programs and improvements in health and retirement benefits.
The deal reached by WGA and AMPTP leaders includes stepped increases of minimum salaries which will jump by 5% upon ratification, 4% in May 2024 and 3.5% in May 2025. There are also increases in health and pension contributions.
The proposed contract also includes restrictions on studios' use of artificial intelligence, barring AI from writing or rewriting literary material and preventing AI-generated material from being considered source material, meaning it can't "undermine a writer's credit."
The proposal also includes a new residual formula for streaming programs that boosts pay for particularly successful programs. Also included are increases in pay for writers employed on TV series, along with employment guarantees for set numbers of writers on series, based on the number of episodes being produced.
Some points of the writers' deal are likely to be used as a template for negotiations with actors, although SAG-AFTRA's demands differ in some aspects, most notably in the level of wage hikes being sought.
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