Members of SAG-AFTRA have ratified a successor deal to the union’s master contract covering work on feature films and primetime television.
The performers union announced the approval Wednesday evening following three weeks of voting and spirited campaigns for and against the pact with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The three-year deal is retroactive to July 1.
The pact received 74% approval among those voting. Turnout was 27.15%.
The performers union, which reps 160,000 members, rolled out several videos in recent days with president Gabrielle Carteris urging a “Yes” vote on the new deal. Her key points are increases at $318 million over the three-year term of the contract, a 26% increase in fixed streaming residuals, and “groundbreaking” improvements in provisions for performers in nude and simulated sex scenes.
“I am grateful for the many members who got involved and used their voices to help set the priorities for this contract,” Carteris said following the vote results. “This is a forward thinking agreement that builds on the changing realities of the streaming business and positions our union to continue the fight for a safer workplace for all.”
High-profile endorsers of the deal included Alec Baldwin, Robert De Niro, Stephen Lang, and Rosie O’Donnell. Opponents included Mark Hamill, Patricia and Rosanna Arquette, Ed Asner, Laura Dern, Elliot Gould, Matthew Modine and Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
Opponents had asserted the new contract will “destroy” syndication with the decades-old fixed residual formula seeing a three-year loss of $70 million and an eight-year loss of $170 million. They have also argued that 1.5% of the 2% pension and health increase will be deducted from the wage increase and that dropping the provision to require first-class travel for under 1,000 miles puts members at risk in the COVID era.
The SAG-AFTRA national board approved sending out the contract for ratification on June 29 by a vote of 67.6% to 32.4%. But the Los Angeles board voted a week later to oppose ratification.
Three years ago, SAG-AFTRA members ratified the current deal as the pact generated opposition from about one in every four members who voted. About 76% of members approved the deal with about 15% of the 144,000 eligible members voting — or about 22,000 in all.
Members of the performers union had not voted down a contract within memory. Had this contract been voted down, SAG-AFTRA negotiators would have returned to the bargaining table with studios to hammer out a different deal.