In a pivotal move that could shape the future of Hollywood labour relations, the Screen Actors Guild?American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has announced that its members will cast their votes on a tentative agreement reached with film and television studios.
This development follows the National Board's endorsement of the agreement, with an 86% majority signalling approval, not reaching a consensus but demonstrating significant support. National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland hailed the board's decision as a testament to the unity and resolve of the union's membership.
"The unwavering solidarity and backing for the negotiating committee throughout these discussions have been nothing short of extraordinary," Crabtree-Ireland remarked. He also acknowledged the support from peer industry unions, which have stood with SAG-AFTRA during the negotiation period.
SAG-AFTRA Voting Begins
The voting process is slated to commence on Tuesday, with a closing date set for early December, providing members ample time to deliberate and decide on the proposed terms. The announcement was made shortly after a press briefing, headlined by SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher and Crabtree-Ireland, was postponed, causing a slight delay in disseminating proposal specifics.
The union's approach mirrors that of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), which recently concluded its own contract ratification with an overwhelming 99% affirmative vote from its members for a three-year contract. However, the SAG-AFTRA vote is expected to be more logistically challenging due to its larger and diverse membership, which stands at approximately 160,000, compared to the WGA's 11,000 members.
Union Leaders' Approval
SAG-AFTRA's expansive membership includes many individuals, from high-profile actors to those who may not be as technologically adept, necessitating various voting methods, including in-person ballots.
The National Board, which ratified the tentative agreement, features a roster of industry luminaries, including President Fran Drescher, Secretary-Treasurer Joely Fisher, and a cadre of vice presidents and board members.
Among them are notable figures such as Sean Astin, Josh Charles, Henry Ian Cusick, Frances Fisher, Elliott Gould, Dulé Hill, Michelle Hurd, Rosie O'Donnell, Billy Porter, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Sharon Stone, and Lisa Ann Walter, all of whom play a crucial role in guiding the union's direction.
As the voting period approaches, the industry watches with bated breath, recognizing that the outcome will not only affect SAG-AFTRA members but also set a precedent for future negotiations across the entertainment sector.
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