The summary alone of the tentative deal between SAG-AFTRA and the studios runs to 18 pages of detail, and the Memorandum of Agreement is about 128 pages. I’ve now read the previously unreleased summary and the A.I. provisions of the M.O.A. (the M.O.A. release is as yet unscheduled). On Tuesday, eligible members will receive ratification ballot materials, with votes due back by Dec. 5.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at the major achievements—and the key compromises—that led to the strike-ending, billion-dollar deal. We’ll save A.I. for last since its 16 pages of contract language are by far the most intricate provisions in the new agreement. (By contrast, the DGA had only one page on A.I. and the WGA 2.5.)
Basic wages: The union initially wanted a 15 percent increase in the first year of the three-year deal, as a catch-up for inflation, while the studios and streamers were offering 5 percent—same as the Directors Guild and Writers Guild achieved. This issue was particularly important for the companies because, as I previously reported, the basic wage increase is upward of 85 percent of the cost of the entire package. What’s more, the bump in this contract will affect expectations in coming renegotiations of the SAG-AFTRA NetCode, IATSE crew, and Teamsters truck drivers deals, which all expire mid-2024, as well as the Teamsters casting directors deal, which expires at the end of that year.