SAG-AFTRA members have voted to ratify the union’s latest standalone contract deal with Netflix.
After the voting period ended on Aug. 31, the vote was 89.03 percent in favor of the new contract, the union announced on Wednesday. SAG-AFTRA and the streamer first reached the tentative deal in early August, and the union’s national board approved it just days after, recommending that union members vote “yes.”
“The gains we achieved in this contract are historic. A convergence of opportunities to leverage presented themselves. Now was the time to strike while the iron was hot or forever be chasing contract reconstruction always outside our grasp. The advances in reducing exclusivity are seminal. The journeyman actor now has the freedom to work multiple jobs and make a living with less restrictions. Our negotiating committee, staff, board and member body all came together in perfect harmony. We now enter into a new chapter that levels the playing field, giving actors the respect and dignity they so rightfully deserve,” said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher.
The agreement, which SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher has argued contains “real change and significant gains,” makes changes to performer exclusivity language that gives members who work as regulars on TV series more freedom to work on multiple shows in a year. Similar to the recent deal that the union reached with the Hollywood studio bargaining body the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the agreement raises the so-called “money break” (the threshold above which actors and/or their agents must negotiate freely with producers on contracts). The agreement raised Netflix’s money break to $65,000 per episode or week for a half-hour television episode and $70,000 per episode or week for an hourlong episode from the previous standard of $40,000. The contract also mandates that union members be allowed to work as a “second-position” regular on a television series or a lead in a miniseries in the same year that they are working as a regular for another show. Performers can also work as many guest star roles as they want in that year, under the agreement.
The agreement additionally secures a “background actor zone” — an area where background actors may be called into work, and beyond which they may be compensated for transportation and/or board — in Albuquerque, New Mexico and establishes Juneteenth as a work holiday. In the tentative agreement, stunt coordinators also won fixed residuals for high-budget projects produced under the Netflix contract that continue to be shown on the platform. The agreement included coverage of dubbing in Spanish as well as English, and the minimum guaranteed dubbing session was increased from two hours to three hours. The agreement stipulated that Netflix and SAG-AFTRA will collaborate on a series of workshops aimed at bringing more people from underrepresented groups into live-action dubbing, among other changes.
This latest agreement is a successor to SAG-AFTRA’s 2019 Netflix Agreement, covering live-action scripted projects as well as performance capture and dubbing. SAG-AFTRA is set to negotiate a new basic agreement with the AMPTP next year, and terms from that agreement, such as changes in wages, will also apply to Netflix projects.