On Tuesday, December 5, SAG-AFTRA finished its ratification voting process for a new three-year Television Agreement and Basic Agreement (CBA) with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The voting period began on November 14 with 78.33% of its 160,000 members voting in favor of ratifying, thereby closing a heated negotiation phase that led to actors striking for 118 days, almost four months. This new agreement expires on June 30, 2026.
These results were mostly expected, despite there being quite a bit of dissent on social media following the Nov. 12 release of details for the new deal. SAG-AFTRA leadership noted that any weaknesses in the 2023 CBA were not substantial enough to risk losing ground on the final round of negotiations after AMPTP agreed to return to the table.
The guild noted that 38.15% of members voted vs. the 27.2% for the 2020 contract and 15.3% three years earlier, and the number voting favorably was on par with the 74% in favor in 2020 and 76% three years before that. According to guild rules, only 50% (plus one vote) of ballots needed to be in favor to create a majority vote to ratify the deal.
In response to the results, SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said, “I’m proud of our SAG-AFTRA membership. They struck for 118 days to grant the TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee the necessary leverage to secure over $1 billion in gains, along with the union’s first-ever protections around AI technology. Now they’ve locked in the gains by ratifying the contract. SAG-AFTRA members have remained incredibly engaged throughout this process, and I know they’ll continue their advocacy throughout our next negotiation cycle. This is a golden age for SAG-AFTRA, and our union has never been more powerful.”
SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director & Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland added, “SAG-AFTRA members demanded a fundamental change in the way this industry treats them: fairness in compensation for their labor, protection from abusive use of AI technology, strengthened benefit plans, and equitable and respectful treatment for all members, among other things. This new contract delivers on these objectives and makes substantial progress in moving the industry in the right direction. By ratifying this contract, members have made it clear that they’re eager to use their unity to lay the groundwork for a better industry, improving the lives of those working in their profession. In any democratic institution, there will be disagreement at times. But no one should mistake the robust debate and democracy within SAG-AFTRA for any lack of unity in our purpose or mission: to protect and advance the cause of SAG-AFTRA members, now and forever.”
In turn, the AMPTP released its own short statement congratulating the actors’ guild on finalizing their new contract deal: “The AMPTP member companies congratulate SAG-AFTRA on the ratification of its new contract, which represents historic gains and protections for performers. With this vote, the industry and the jobs it supports will be able to return in full force.”
Now that the deal has closed, check back later when Above the Line columnist, Kevin E. West – literally a man in the room on the SAG-AFTRA side of negotiations, along with Drescher and Crabtree-Ireland – breaks down some of the key points in the Memorandum of Agreement for the ratified deal in his latest The Acting Biz column. If you’re a SAG-AFTRA member who still is unclear what some of the biggest changes mean to you, then you’ll definitely want to read that.