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Striking actors and Hollywood studios agree to a deal

Los Angeles: One of the longest labor crises inHollywoodhistory is finally comingtoan end.

The ScreenActorsGuild-American Federation of TelevisionandRadio Artists, the union representing tens of thousands ofactors, reachedatentativedealforanew contract with entertainment companies Wednesday, clearing the way for the $134 billion American movieandtelevision businesstoswing back into motion.

Hollywood’s assembly lines have been atanear-standstill since May because ofapair ofstrikesby writersandactors, resulting in financial pain forstudiosandfor many of the 2 million Americans — makeup artists, set builders, location scouts, chauffeurs, casting directors — who work in jobs directly or indirectly relatedtomaking TV showsandfilms.

Upset about streaming service payandfearful of fast-developing artificial intelligence technology,actorsjoined screenwriters on picket lines in July. The writers had walked out in May over similar concerns. It was the first time since 1960 thatactorsandwriters were both onstrike.

The Writers Guild of America, which represents 11,500 screenwriters, reachedatentative agreement withstudiosSept. 24andended its 148-daystrikeSept. 27. In the coming days, SAG-AFTRA members will vote on whethertoaccept their union’sdeal, which includes hefty gains like increases in compensation for streaming showsandfilms; better health care funding; concessions fromstudioson self-taped auditions;andguarantees thatstudioswill not use AItocreate digital replicas of their likenesses without payment or approval.

At 118 days, it was the longest movieandtelevisionstrikein the union’s 90-year history. SAG-AFTRA said inastatement that its negotiating committee had voted unanimouslytoapprove the tentativedeal, which will proceedtothe union’s national board Friday for “reviewandconsideration.”

The Alliance of Motion PictureandTelevision Producers, which bargains on behalf of entertainment companies, said inastatement that the tentative agreement “representsanew paradigm,” giving SAG-AFTRA “the biggest contract-on-contract gains in the history of the union.”

For an industry upended by the streaming revolution, which the pandemic sped up, the tentative accord takesameaningful step toward stabilization. About $10 billion in TVandfilm production has been on hold, accordingtoProdPro,aproduction tracking service. That amountsto176 showsandfilms.

The fallout has been significant, both insideandoutside the industry. California’s economy alone has lost more than $5 billion, accordingtoGov. Gavin Newsom.

(Published 09 November 2023, 04:06 IST)

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